STRIKING IT workers in Swansea are in confident mood as their indefinite action begins to bite.
Their union, Unison, has given permission for a strike ballot of all its members in the council. That decision has boosted the 100 IT strikers.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis was due to address a march and rally in support of the strikers this week.
As well as a groundswell of support for the strikers among other Swansea council workers, they are getting backing from people across the city.
The council’s chief executive has finally admitted that a figure of £100 million is “not a million miles away” from the cost of outsourcing the IT department, the issue at the heart of the dispute.
The local evening paper points out that Swansea schools are in need of £40 million of repairs, and a leisure centre was shut down because it needs £14 million of refurbishment.
Caroline Hamer, an IT trainer and member of the strike committee, says, “I strongly feel that this strike is right because in the public sector services are not driven by profit.
“The support has been absolutely tremendous. It is overwhelming and exhilarating. The union branch meeting of 700 members all voting to support us brought tears to my eyes.”
Programmer Adrian Jones says, “I have never been on strike before, but I’m definitely determined over this. I think the management and council need to get their act together to resolve it.”
Pensions are also an issue, says principal analyst Steve Jones:
“I am very concerned about my pension. We have been told that it will be transferred to a ‘broadly comparable’ scheme. ‘Broadly comparable’ means ‘not as good’ in my eyes.”
THE 100 striking social workers in Liverpool have received a huge boost with a donation of £1,200 from the Fire Brigades Union on Merseyside.
The strikers are up against serious intimidation from management. But that has led them to start to build active support for the dispute.
lSend messages of support and donations to Strike Committee, Unison, Cotton Exchange Buildings, Bixteth Street, Liverpool L3 9RJ.
SOME 90 cleansing workers in the TGWU union in Hackney, east London. struck on Friday and Saturday of last week in their long-running dispute.
The strike severely affected services. Paul Fawcett, the TGWU regional organiser, told Socialist Worker, “Members are striking against cuts in their terms and conditions. People are angry and frustrated.
“They believe an unfair bonus scheme has been imposed upon them. All local agreements have been torn up. This dispute’s been going on since last November.”
The council, which is controlled by Labour, has ruthlessly stood against the cleansing workers, using scab firms in an efort to break the strike.
The cleansing workers are traditionally seen as one of the best organised sections of the council workforce, and need full backing.