Socialist Worker

Council workers strike back at attacks on pay

by Ruairi O’Neill
Issue No. 2374

Council workers in South Gloucestershire on strike over pay

Council workers in South Gloucestershire on strike over pay (Pic: Ruairi O'Neill)

Unison union members at South Gloucestershire council struck for a second day last Saturday in a continuing dispute over attacks on their pay.

Most of the workers are low paid women and many work part time. Their action has grown in strength since the first strike one week ago. 

South Gloucestershire Unison branch secretary Huw Williams spoke to Socialist Worker about the dispute. 

He said, “Our members have once again shown how determined they are to fight these pay cuts.

“Our picket lines were bigger in many cases than last week. And the support of local trade unionists and the public was overwhelming. Hundreds of people signed petitions on the picket lines.”

An Amazon delivery driver decided not to cross the picket line at one site. This was after hearing that postal workers refused to cross the picket in solidarity with the strike.

Huw added, “Union membership has increased and we have new stewards and contacts as a result of taking this action.” All libraries were closed and had larger pickets.

 At Thornbury library, where the union had just two members two months ago, seven members were picketing.

Workers at Woodleaze nursing home who have joined the union since the last strike boosted the picket line there to over 20 strikers. 

The union has recruited around 40 workers from the affected areas since the original ballot of 189 members.

Many strikers have worked for the council for over 20 years and had never been on strike before. Yet they backed strikes by 92 percent on a 63 percent turnout in a recent ballot.

Workers know that if bosses win on this they will come back for more. 

Huw said, “To date the council has not responded. Therefore the next strike will be on Friday of this week from 10am to 2pm.”

Further strikes could include action on 17 October, coinciding with the next joint NUT and NASUWT teachers’ strike that includes the South West.

Strike hardship fund donations to: ‘South Glos Hardship Fund’, South Glos Unison, 38 Downend Rd, Bristol BS16 5UJ 
Send messages of support to [email protected]


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Article information

Tue 8 Oct 2013, 16:32 BST
Issue No. 2374
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