Unison union members in Knowsley council, Merseyside, were due to take their third round of strike action on Thursday of this week. They have had overwhelming support for action against an increase in the working week for white collar workers from 35 to 37 hours.
A joint union meeting has been called for Monday of next week for all council workers on 37 hours, mostly manual workers, to begin a campaign for a strike ballot over winning a 35-hour week for all. Key groups of workers in the finance section are likely to be pulled out for a number of weeks in March to coincide with the end of the financial year. A further two-day all-out strike is planned for later in March, along with a rally addressed by UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis.
For details of the 31 March rally, messages of support and donations contact Knowsley UNISON, 70/71 Admin Buildings, Admin Road, Kirkby, Knowsley, Merseyside L33 7TX. Phone 0151 548 0148 or fax 0151 545 0563.
Hackney council workers in east London are preparing for another strike against cuts and privatisation on Wednesday of next week as the council sets its budget. Hackney council is led by a Labour-Tory coalition and recently sacked its entire workforce so that it could re-hire those it wanted on worse contracts. This move is so outrageous that, for the first time, there are signs of splits inside the Labour councillors' group. One wrote to the local paper recently supporting the workers' resistance.
Fightback, the Hackney anti-cuts group, has launched a series of local public meetings to build the resistance to the cuts. Speakers include Liz Davies, former member of Labour's national executive, and Gary Younge the Guardian journalist.
The 7 March strike deserves every support. But a one-day strike is far too little compared to the scale of the attacks, and given that the campaign has been running for over four months.
About 150 trade union members and supporters lobbied Southampton council on Wednesday of last week. UNISON, the GMB, the TGWU and other council unions are angry about cuts and redundancies. The minority Labour council plans to make savings of £5 million to £9 million by axing sports and leisure facilities, community centres and museums.