BIN WORKERS and street cleaners in Hackney, east London, have forced the council to back off from 40 compulsory job cuts. The 280 workers had been set to take strike action for two days this week. The workers had threatened to escalate to all-out action in the beginning of September.
A work-to-rule was already causing disruption. This was enough to force the council, run jointly by New Labour and the Tories, to do a U-turn.
On Monday of this week the council issued a written statement to the joint trade unions involved-UNISON, the TGWU and the GMB-that there would be no compulsory redundancies. The threat of action has also delayed the council's plans to hand the service over to private contractor Serviceteam.
The council's statement also said that 'Serviceteam will not be entering into the contract for some months. Indeed maybe it will not go ahead at all.' The joint trade unions are hailing a victory.
However, the council is still looking for 'voluntary redundancies' and it is still threatening to privatise the service in the future. That means workers must keep a close watch and be prepared to take action at any moves to privatise the service.
ONE HUNDRED and fifty UNISON members, service users and local trade unionists in Bromley, south London attended an angry meeting on Tuesday of last week to organise support for victimised UNISON branch secretary Glenn Kelly. Bromley council is run by a coalition of Liberals and Labour. They suspended Glenn for opposing staffing cuts in sheltered accommodation.
Residents and staff spoke of their shock and anger at the council's attempt to get rid of the Night Care service, which provides 24-hour cover for vulnerable people. Geoff Martin, London UNISON convenor, pledged UNISON's support should the council go ahead with its plans to discipline Glenn.
Glenn's initial hearing was due to take place on Tuesday. A lobby was planned outside to show solidarity with him. If the council do not reinstate him the branch will ballot for a strike.
Fax messages of support to Bromley UNISON on 020 8313 4885. Letters of protest to Bromley Chief Personnel Officer Sandra Campbell on 020 8313 4241.