UNISON union members in Tower Hamlets, east London, are celebrating a victory after the council withdrew proposed new sickness, disciplinary and organisational changes. This follows a highly successful strike at the end of February, and plans for further strike action.
Initially management had taunted union negotiators that we would not even be able to get a quorate meeting to oppose the changes. When we won the strike ballot they were forced to make concessions. The decision to campaign for action had an electrifying effect. Wherever we organised we found a fantastic response, recruiting new members and breathing new life into sections which had appeared dormant.
The strike day was extremely active. The result is a huge boost to our confidence as we head towards a fight over London weighting. Few activists doubt that the council will return to attack in the future, but we have shown that we can fight and win, and our organisation has been strengthened.
JOHN McLOUGHLIN, branch chair Tower Hamlets Unison (personal capacity)
OVER 2,500 council workers in Newham, east London, are this week balloting on strikes to stop their Labour council effectively derecognising their Unison union. Newham council has banned all consultation and negotiation with Unison from the end of January in an unprecedented move by a Labour authority.
The assault follows a series of disputes last year, including a strike by social workers, in which the council has become increasingly intransigent. Council leader Sir Robin Wales was furious with Unison for contrasting an £11,000 pay rise for an officer in the chief executive's department, with the council's refusal to upgrade low paid staff.
The council has demanded that this criticism is withdrawn before it will lift the ban on contact with Unison! Unison members are voting on a series of strikes.
THOUSANDS OF council workers in the Unison union working for Cardiff council are set to take one-day strike action on Wednesday of next week. They are striking against the sacking of union activist Charles Faber, who spoke out to the BBC about the council's lack of resources in children's services.