A SHEFFIELD council worker has won his industrial tribunal case over disciplinary measures taken against him for his trade union activities. Paul Page works for private company CSL in Sheffield council's financial services section. The workers had been privatised by the Labour council, which lost office to the Liberals in last May's elections.
In February Paul canvassed other council workers in support of candidates standing in elections for the UNISON branch officer positions. He was suspended by CSL. Paul was left to fight an industrial tribunal case by himself, helped by local civil rights lawyers, after UNISON regional officials refused to back his case. Last week a tribunal decided Paul was in the right and will award compensation.
ACTIVISTS IN the 1.3 million strong UNISON public sector workers' union need to get ready now for a major campaign in the new year over the UNISON general secretary elections. Voting begins on 21 January in the key battle between Dave Prentis, current UNI SON deputy general secretary, and socialist challenger Roger Bannister.
Prentis, who has the backing of the union machine, has been nominated by 278 branches, eight regional councils, seven service group executives and the national executive. Bannister has been nominated by a creditable 66 branches and one regional council. The level of discontent with the union's leaders was also demonstrated by the 33 branch nominations received by sacked Hillingdon Hospital worker Malkiat Bilku. Voting ends on 18 February.
Defend Roddy Slorach
SOME 100 trade unionists joined a lobby to defend UNISON shop steward Roddy Slorach last Saturday as part of the fight to stop his expulsion from the union. Roddy, who works in Glasgow's social work department, has been thrown out of the union for the 'crime' of leading successful strike action.
Social workers struck over the council's suspension of three workers and won their reinstatement. But because the action broke the anti-union laws, UNISON leaders have tried to smear Roddy in revenge.
The protesters gathered outside Scottish UNISON's Regional Council. 'Edinburgh social work shop stewards support Roddy Slorach,' said one banner. There were delegations of UNISON members from East Renfrewshire, Nottinghamshire, Rochdale, Newcastle, Bolton, Manchester, Leeds, Kirklees, UCLH in London, Oxford, Derbyshire, Wigan, Tower Hamlets and Knowsley. Doug Wright, a member of UNISON's national executive, spoke to the demonstrators.
Van Fishlock, a Glasgow social work shop steward, told Socialist Worker, 'There were 2,500 of us on strike. I was proud of what we did. I would do it again. Roddy was our convenor and he just did what the rest of us did. For the union to expel him now is a disgrace.'
Fax protests to UNISON leader Rodney Bickerstaffe on 0171 387 6692.
Factsheets and petitions from, and messages of support to: Hands off Roddy Campaign, c/o Biggar, 255 Allison Street, Glasgow G42 8AH.
TONY BLAIR'S visit to Manchester on Monday was greeted by a strike by police civilian support staff. Over 1,200 workers struck for two hours, shutting down police stations and pulling officers off the beat to staff the switchboards. Blair was even forced to bring in police from London to guard him. In the words of a UNISON trade union official, 'I've never seen a strike so solid before.' The strike follows a 'review' which recommended pay cuts of up to £5,500.