Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sacked Liverpool Mutual Homes workers demand justice

Today, I was in Liverpool City Centre to pick up some leaflets from the PCS offices on the third floor of Jack Jones House. Across the road, I came across a protest by a small number of workers, with banners decrying City Council contractors Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH). Many of the cars going past heeded the sign urging them to honk in support.

The protest was one amongst several, it transpires, after workers were left without a job because of their age. Construction firm Kinetics, of whom LMH were a client, went into administration in June and 273 jobs hung in the balance. However, jobs were saved when LMH transferred the workers to the "in-house" service Housing Maintenance Solutions. It was then that staff over the age of 50 were told their services were no longer required.

According to those at the protest, this then saw a dispute over whether a TUPE transfer had taken place, and thus who was liable for their redundancy payouts. LMH claimed it was the government, because they hadn't been TUPE'd, whilst the government claimed it was LMH, because they had. Unite the Union is now looking to settle the matter in court.

In the meantime, workers have been staging protests across from the LMH offices in town, following on from early morning protests at their workplace which drew strong support from their colleagues who still had jobs. There is also strong support for strike action, which following a ballot could see protests become picket lines. I offered my solidarity to the group, as well as support should they find themselves having to stand on picket lines, before moving on as they packed away their flags and banners.

The protests will be in the City Centre for the rest of the week, near to Wellington's Column and St George's Hall, as the fight goes on. They deserve our support and solidarity in their struggle, as do all workers whose lives and livelihoods are left at the mercy of state and capital. An injury to one is an injury to all!