Socialist Worker

Council workers fighting back

Issue No. 2213

Lancashire

Up to 10,000 workers at Lancashire council began industrial action from Tuesday over changes to conditions and pay cuts.

The workers, members of the Unison union, voted yes to action short of a strike in their ballot.

The action involves refusing to work overtime, not using their own cars for work and not covering for absent colleagues or vacant posts – “until further notice”.

Unison branch secretary Carol Lukey said, “We’re not saying we want fantastic pay. We want reasonable pay and reasonable conditions.

“For people to take this action in this climate shows feelings are running high.”

The action comes after an “equal pay review” cut wages for thousands of workers – and imposed worse terms and conditions.

They include an end to car allowances, no overtime pay for weekends, and even charges for car parking at work.

Unison also has around 2,000 members working for the council, who aren’t taking action.

Most are teaching assistants, who have not yet been balloted because of the summer holidays.

The current round of action began “from the stroke after midnight on Tuesday”.

Lancashire council workers are at the sharp end of a Tory-run council’s cuts.

A victory there would make waves in every Tory town hall.


Scotland

Unison members across Scotland have overwhelmingly voted to reject a pay offer.

Some 80 percent voted to reject the derisory offer in a consultative ballot.

The offer was for a 1 percent pay “rise” in the first year, 0 percent in the second and 0.5 percent in the third.

The union says industrial action is now “one of a range of options we will be considering”.

Stephanie Herd, Scottish local government commitee chair, said, “This overwhelming rejection shows how strongly our members feel about an offer that is in reality a three-year pay cut.

“It is unacceptable to tie many of the lowest-paid public sector workers, who deliver essential frontline services, into a three-year deal worth 1.5 percent.”


Croydon

Croydon council workers are to be balloted for industrial action over vicious cuts by the Tory-run council.

The government has already imposed a national pay freeze.

Now the council wants to slash annual leave, sick pay and redundancy payments – and “look at” cutting car allowances and overtime as well.

Yet the Tories voted to give councillors in the cabinet massive pay rises.

The three unions at the council – Unison, Unite and the GMB – said, “Our members are asking when industrial action will take place –

such is the mood felt.

“Why should we agree to alter terms and conditions when we have been told redundancies will follow?”


Brighton

The Unison union at Brighton & Hove council has vowed to ballot for strikes if even one of its 4,000 members is forced out of their job.

The union believes cuts will mean 100 job losses.

And workers are angry over the council’s plans to appoint four new “super-directors” on huge pay as part of the plan.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

News
Tue 3 Aug 2010, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2213
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.