Radical roundup: 10 stories that got missed

Left Foot Forward's roundup of the progressive news you might have missed so far this week.

In no particular order… PS: Got a story tip? Email us: [email protected]

10. Labour voters will be key to next Scottish independence referendum

The 11th poll in a row has suggested that Scotland will vote for independence. Among voters who are undecided on independence, not wanting to be ruled by Boris Johnson is the most persuasive argument against the union. Brexit and a desire to settle the independence debate are also important factors.

With SNP voters unsurprisingly in favour of independence and Tory and Lib Dem voters against – it will largely be Labour voters who determine whether Scotland votes to leave the UK.

The polling reveals swing voters can be influenced by the Labour Party, JK Rowling, Gordon Brown and Keir Starmer (in that order). Scottish Tories like Douglas Ross, Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson would be wise to take a back seat as undecided voters don’t like them.

9. After SARS protests, campaigners call on the UK to stop training Nigeria’s military and police

Dozens of Nigerians have now been killed by police and the military after protesting against the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). According to Amnesty International, at least 10,000 people have died in SARS detention in the last decade.

The UK’s Campaign Against Arms Trade has called on the government to review training it provides and equipment it sells to the Nigerian military and police. The UK has allowed its companies to sell military vehicles and arms to Nigeria and invited it to London’s DSEI arms fair.

8. Thousands of nurseries will close without further funding

A survey of nurseries and childminders has found that just one-quarter of them expect to make any profit before March and one-in-six expect to go bust by Christmas.

The Early Years Alliance wants Rishi Sunak to give them £242m to tide them over until March. If not, the GMB union says essential workers will be left without childcare and thousands of (mostly young and female) child-carers will lose their jobs. Labour says “urgent action is needed”.

7. Yodel drivers balloted for strike action over pay

According to the GMB, Yodel delivery drivers can earn just £8.83 and other staff earn just the minimum wage. They have been offered a pay rise worth 1.6%..

Workers are now being balloted for strike action over the Christmas period. The GMB’s Gary Carter says Yodel has been “raking it in” over the lockdown as “online sales soared”. He adds that Yodel drivers have put themselves in danger transporting covid samples and this “miserly pay offer” is “insulting”.

6. London’s firefighters ask PM for funding to avoid cuts

The pandemic has hit London’s finances and, to make up the £431m deficit, Mayor Sadiq Khan is cutting £20m from London’s fire service. The Fire Brigades Union says that Boris Johnson should provide emergency funding to London or “risk finishing the job [Johnson] started as Mayor”. Johnson cut £150m from the fire brigade as Mayor, closing down 10 fire stations and scrapping 27 fire engines.

5. Lib Dems join Labour’s call for ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown

On Thursday, Ed Davey called for a national lockdown like France and Germany. His call came two weeks after Keir Starmer said the same thing and over a month after the government’s SAGE advisors said it should be considered.

4. Scottish govermnent pardons miners for 80s strike ‘crimes’

After a report into miners strike policing in Scotland was released, the Scottish government said it would introduced legislation so that it could pardon people convicted of certain offences during the 1984-85 strike.

The Scottish miners’ union said a pardon would “remove a stigma that has lasted for 36 years” and called for a UK-wide report so that miners in England and Wales could get “the same justice”.

3. Outsourced school catering staff face wage cut

More than 2,000 staff providing school lunces at schools across England may have their wages and hours cut. Some may also be put on zero-hours contracts.

According to Unison, their employer Dolce School Catering has wrongly blamed the pandemic for the move, which could cost already low-paid workers up to £325 a month. Unison is calling for urgent talks.

2. Lancashire’s Rolls-Royce workers to strike to stop switch to Singapore

Workers at the historic Barnoldswick Rolls-Royce factor will begin three weeks of targetted strike action in November.

They are angry at the company’s plan to move 350 jobs making jet engine blades to Singapore. Unite fears the job cuts could make the whole factory unviable and 94% of its members voted to strike.

“To offshore work and destroy the viability of this historic factory would be nothing short of industrial vandalism,” said Unite’s Ross Quinn.

  1. Uber drivers sue over algorithm that sacked them

Former Uber drivers from London, Birmingham and Lisbon are taking Uber to a Dutch court to challenge the algorithm which sacked them over alleged ‘fraudulent activity’.

The workers will argue the EU’s GDPR law protects them against unfair automated decision-making. The workers deny fraud and say they were wrongly fired.

They’ve appealed for any drivers in a similar position to join the case and have launched a crowdfunder.

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