Socialist Worker

Dudley strikers

Issue No. 1736

Dudley hospitals strikers confronted their UNISON union leader Dave Prentis when they lobbied Labour's spring conference in Glasgow last weekend. Prentis came out of the conference to speak to the strikers, to pledge his support for their battle, and to underline his hope that a settlement could be achieved soon. But strikers wanted more.

Jeremy Pugh told him, 'This is the most important dispute inside the NHS for years. We should be telling Labour that we don't just want a different sort of PFI to the Tories. We don't want PFI at all.

'The union campaigns against Tory privatisation, but inside that conference it's cuddling up to the party that has accelerated PFI. The union should be treating this as a national dispute. We want you to show the same spirit as we have.'

Other strikers joined in, demanding much more active and high profile action from the union leaders.

The Scottish regional council of UNISON defied its leaders and voted for support for the Dudley strikers last Saturday.

The union leaders opposed a motion calling for a Dudley speaking tour and support for a national day of action. But delegates voted overwhelmingly to overturn the leaders.

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Sat 24 Feb 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1736
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