Socialist Worker

Council workers

Issue No. 1776

OVer 1,000 striking council workers attended a rally in Bradford on Wednesday of last week. The workers struck for the day against Bradford's Tory/Liberal coalition council, which is pushing privatisation through.

The council is pushing through plans which mean fewer workers and most services privatised. The day before the strike the council made a decision to spend lavish amounts of money on transferring its council housing stock.

Labour MP Terry Rooney, Cliff Williams, president of the Regional TUC, and UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis addressed a rally of over 1,000 strikers. They all spoke about the need for public services and gave support to the strike.

Now UNISON leaders need to build on the success of this strike and organise the next strike day of the whole workforce.

Tower Hamlets

A sackers' and bullies' charter. That's what our Labour council's plans for us add up to. Thousands of council workers, UNISON and TGWU members, are voting on action over the attack. The council wants to make it quicker and easier to sack people when they are sick.

The council also wants to toughen up disciplinary procedures, water down appeal rights and decrease the protection given to staff who are redeployed through no fault of their own. One attack that is especially angering people is the council's plan to force staff to work over the Christmas period with no compensatory payments. The changes to procedures are giving the green light to managers to go on the offensive. In some areas staff are already being forced to reapply for their own jobs.

The council tells us we have to accept these attacks to be more 'efficient' and because funds for public services are so limited. There are no such limits when it comes to funding war, so why should we and the services we provide always suffer?

The same top managers who tell us to put up with things getting worse award themselves exorbitant salaries before swanning off on early retirement or with a huge payoff. If we win the vote a one-day council-wide strike is planned before Christmas. That could be the start of a campaign which can force the council to back off.


LIbrary workers in Hackney, east London, planned to strike this Saturday against the withdrawal of time and a half pay for weekends. A thumping 96 percent of over 80 workers voted for the action. There will be picket lines at the borough's seven libraries. Three of these libraries are under threat of closure.

The action comes against the background of another £50 million cuts package in the borough. Every party on the council is against the measures-except New Labour which is cranking up the discipline on councillors to ensure the cuts go through. The cuts will be discussed on Wednesday 28 November. UNISON and community groups have called a picket for the day from 6pm.

John Page, Hackney UNISON branch secretary, says, 'Our members are now fighting, not just for their jobs, but for the survival of public services to one of the poorest communities in London.'

Some 400 workers at Wandsworth council in south west London have voted overwhelmingly for a ballot for industrial action. The workers, members of the UNISON and GMB unions, are fuming at the Tory council's plans to savage £2 million from home care services and to expand the use of private companies. The workers will begin balloting next week for a planned first strike on 12 December.

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Sat 24 Nov 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1776
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