Socialist Worker

Disputes in Birmingham, Glasgow and Bolton councils

Issue No. 2071

Over 2,000 Unison union members who work for Birmingham council have attended mass meetings to discuss the imminent imposition of new contracts.

The council are using the single status changes to try to drive through major changes to people's contracts.

The new contracts will see thousands of people losing pay and up to 6,000 teaching assistants having their hours increased by four hours with no increase in pay.

The changes will introduce 'flexibilty' where staff will not know from one day to the next where they will be working.

Many in the union believe the council are trying to prepare workers for privatisation.

The council have a 'strategic partnership' with outsourcing company Capita. Capita has already taken over the IT services department for which they will be paid £475 million and have agreed other contracts worth a further £230 million.

The council are trying to scare people into signing the new contracts by telling them they will be making themselves redundant if they don't sign.

The mass meetings voted unanimously to back a motion calling on the council to reconsider its proposals. The motion calls on people to refuse to sign the contracts, proposes a demonstration once the contracts are sent out and supports a call for industrial action if the council doesn't reconsider.

Pete Jackson


Glasgow

Around 270 adult daycare workers employed by Glasgow council are set to begin an indefinite strike on Wednesday of next week.

The dispute was sparked by the single status review carried out by the council. Some daycare workers stand to lose between £3,000 and £6,000 a year.

There is also uncertainty over the future of the service after a threat of closure to five of the daycare centres.

The workers, members of the Unison union, voted by 167 to 33 for indefinite strike action. At a mass meeting on Monday of this week, they overwhelmingly rejected proposals from the council to suspend action for six weeks for negotiations over 'service redesign' plans.

Send donations, payable to Glasgow City Unison, and messages of support to Unison, 4th floor, 18 Albion Street, Glasgow G2 4PF.

Glasgow Unison steward


Bolton

More than 350 members of Bolton council's adult and children's services departments struck this week in a row over changes to their working conditions. The staff are all members of the Unison union. The strike began at noon on Monday of this week and was set to end at noon on Wednesday.

The workers are protesting about changes to their contracts which mean they will no longer receive £30 payments for sleep-ins when they are on holiday or off sick. Sleep-ins are occasions when staff stay at one of their client's homes overnight to offer round the clock care.

The union has repeatedly said it is willing to negotiate on those parts of the agreement which can be locally agreed but are refusing to move on the elements which are bound by a national agreement.

Florence Hill, chairperson of the Bolton Unison branch, said, 'Members feel enough is enough.'

Send donations and messages of support to Bolton Metro Unison, 27 Mawdsley Street, Bolton BL1 1LN or email admin@boltonunison.org

Bernie Gallagher


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