Docklands strike illegal!

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THE rail union RMT yesterday called off the Docklands Light Railway 48-hour strike after it was declared illegal by the judiciary.

In a message to members, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ‘You may be aware that instead of dealing with the problems you are experiencing in respect of the breakdown in industrial relations, Serco management applied to the High Court for an injunction to stop Thursday’s 48-hour strike going ahead.

‘Regrettably the Court yet again came down on the side of the employer and used the anti-trade union laws to grant the injunction, this despite your union putting forward a rigorous defence including hiring a top QC.

‘Therefore, the strike action due to commence on Thursday 20th January has been called off.

‘It’s a shame management didn’t put as much effort into resolving this dispute as they did in running to the courts because the problems you are experiencing still have to be addressed.

‘We will continue to fight to resolve the following issues: failure to consult over redundancies; failure to consult and imposition of new pension arrangements; failure to consult over the introduction of new grades; imposition of a new roster reflecting altered walking times and spreadover times without our agreement.’

The RMT is also claiming for a 35-hour working week and an end to the victimisation and dismissal of their members Julian Harper and Ian Peavot.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Tugend concluded that the strike was not lawful as the ballot notices were not valid.

The RMT said that of 175 workers who had taken part in the ballot, 162 had voted in favour of strike action.

But lawyers for operator Serco Docklands said the notices were defective because of the form of explanation given of job titles and categories.

Granting the injunction, the judge said: ‘I find the defendant is not likely to succeed in establishing that the notices were valid in that the purported explanation is not that required by law.’

• Around 2,400 Department for Work and Pensions call centre workers yesterday walked out on the first day of a 48-hour strike against oppressive working conditions, the Public and Commercial Services union said yesterday.

The union said 85 per cent of its members in the seven newest Jobcentre Plus call centres joined the action.

PCS represents about 70 per cent of the 3,500 staff who have been forcibly moved from processing benefit claims to handling enquiries by phone.

Picket lines were well attended at the centres in Bristol, Glasgow, Newport in south Wales, Norwich, Makerfield near Wigan, Manchester and Sheffield.