THOUSANDS OF workers employed by London councils have backed more strikes to win an increase in the London weighting allowance. Members of the Unison union in town halls, manual depots and schools across the capital voted by 80.7 percent for more strikes in a consultative ballot. Existing ballots allowed union leaders to call more action but they foisted the new ballot upon members anyway.
Unison members voted by 14,463 to 3,455 for strikes to win an increase to £4,000 in the London weighting allowance to cover the extra costs of living and working in the capital. The dispute has been going on for 18 months. It has seen repeated one-day London-wide strikes of council workers, as well as selective action by workers in town halls, depots and schools.
Earlier strikes saw members of the TGWU and GMB unions out alongside Unison. Leaders of those unions have now ditched the fight. Unison's members are determined to fight on. 'This latest vote saw a bigger turnout, and more people voting for strikes than our last ballot, ' London Region Unison publicity officer Rahul Patel told Socialist Worker.
'Our national industrial action committee was to discuss on Tuesday a proposal for a one-day London-wide strike on Thursday 16 October, coupled with a London-wide demonstration. They will also be discussing a plan for more selective action by members in schools starting the same day. This vote has given the union a clear mandate to fight to win the claim for £4,000 London weighting. People want to win.'