THE STREATHAM STRIKER No. 8
Leigh Lewis tried to sell us a second hand car last week. Well, almost. But we know a dodgy deal when we see one.
Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary elect, who worked in the BA for 20 years until January this year, listened to striking Streatham and Brent members before last weeks NEC meeting and assured them of his ongoing support.
For those of you unable to attend or await the end of the marathon 4½ hour strikers meeting (we were awaiting the outcome of the NEC debate on Leigh Lewis' latest "offer"), we understand that the basis of the offer rejected by the NEC consisted of revisiting the risk assessments for Brent, possibly including a "trial" of pop-up screens, holding back the opening of Streatham until 19th November and allowing one screened area per cluster of offices - although Leigh Lewis' definitions of the type of work which should be delivered from behind screens differ to ours.
Our action has made management at least recognise the dreaded "s" word, but we still need to teach them how to use it sensibly.
Let's look at the offer again:
Pop-up screens? Walk round the back.
One screened area per cluster?
Scenario: Customer at Balham/Wandsworth requests an alignment payment - send them to the screened area - at Streatham, which has the only screened area for the cluster. The screens will be removed from Balham and Wandsworth. It doesn't take much imagination to see the pitfalls inherent in this.
Then we come to Leigh Lewis' errors of fact:
Streatham not to open until 19th November?
It opened to the public on 22nd October. 60 strikers were there to witness this.
Revisiting risk assessments?
And why not? The strike centre has a copy of the "revisited" risk assessments for Winchester Pathfinder, which joined the strike on 22nd October (nearly forgot - they had a man with a knife threatening them last week. He couldn't do any damage because the office reception is still screened).
We also have a copy of the original risk assessments that were drawn up by Trillium with input from the TU side safety reps. It was then passed to the Pathfinder management who made substantial changes without consulting anyone.
A screened interview room became a room with a glass partition and blinds. Options put forward to alter the public seating arrangements before "go live" became "regularly reviewed after go live date"
TUS in the original asked if statement of intent posters could be placed in the JCP areas e.g. "no alcohol or illegal substances allowed on site" became "no food or drink on these premises" and even this has to be "taken back to the national team to establish if such items match the JCP "vision"."
Bad news interviews became PV interviews - not the same thing at all.
There is more, much more - each document is about 30 pages long. If anyone wants to see a copy of the docs, pop into the strike centre.
We don't think it's a clever idea for Mr Lewis' minions to fiddle with risk assessments and then pass them off as safe, and wonder if he is aware of this. It could have an effect on his "personal guarantee" to staff who will work in JCP offices.
The screens were installed in the mid 70's after the fatal shooting of a member of staff in a Devon office. Recent events locally show that the cycle of violence continues.
Hands up all those who think our workplace has become less violent since then. Only one? Thank you, Leigh.
The advertisement below appeared in the Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror newspapers on 25th October to raise public awareness and bring the dispute to the attention of Ministers.
The rest of the Pathfinder offices joined us on strike this week and early reports of the level of support are encouraging, with many BA and ES offices closed.
Fulham have voted by a large margin to take action over their enforced scabbing. Cricklewood has voted to take strike action. The Makerfield ballot is under way, and is expected to show massive support for strike action over their enforced scabbing.
Speakers from Streatham and Brent have been addressing meetings outside BA and ES offices across the south of England, building support for the national ballot, which should be starting on 6"' November - unless management can be persuaded to substantially improve its offer.
Roy Lewis has addressed the South Eastern Region TUC on the dispute and they send their full support.
THE WEEKS PICKET PIX
On Saturday the children brought their parents and kept the picket entertained at Balham (scab overtime is being worked at weekends). We are now picketing the office 7 days a week -come and show your support. The local management were unpleasantly surprised - so much so that they have now been ordered by their seniors not to talk to the pickets or supporters!
More scenes from the picket at Streatham on Pathfinder "go live" day. The unsafe office opened to the public at 8.30am. So much for Leigh Lewis' offer to withhold the office opening until 19th November to allow the risk assessments to be revisited.
'Ello 'ello 'ello - ain't you that "ordinary striker" geezer wot was invited to address last week's NEC meeting on behalf of the strikers?
WEEKLY MEETINGS for our strikers have been arranged. These are an opportunity to find out the
latest news, to meet the strike centre team, and to
ask any questions you have. They are also an opportunity to meet and keep in touch with workmates who are also on strike.
The next meeting will be on
FRIDAY 2nd NOVEMBER from 11.30 - 12.30 in room 4.4 at PCS HQ
Pickets and about 60 supporters came to Streatham on Monday to jeer the opening of the unsafe Pathfinder office, singing appropriate songs via a megaphone. John Stanley has now acquired a tambourine as well. Be warned!
STREATHAM AND BRENT
STRIKERS NIGHT OUT
WHEN? Friday 9th November
WHERE? THE BETSY TROTWOOD Farringdon Road (opposite the Guardian building, nearest tube Farringdon Road). Music, raffle etc, proceeds to branch hardship funds.
WHAT TIME? 7.30 - 1.00 (late bar)
HOW MUCH? Free to strikers, £5.00 others - BRING PLENTY. Tickets available at the next strikers meeting and by application from the Streatham strike centre.
DRESS CODE? No denim clothing; lycra leggings; shorts; cropped tops; trainers; and baseball caps. (ONLY JOKING) but Leigh Lewis' list of banned clothing is not exhaustive, he says...