COUNCIL UNIONS in Plymouth are claiming victory following five weeks of work to rule and strike action to defend jobs and services. Members of the UNISON, GMB and TGWU unions took action when the Tory council announced plans to break from national and local agreements, including returning to a 39-hour week, cutting all sick pay for the first two days of absence and finding 5.5 million savings from workers' conditions of service.
Strike action in March included the largest demonstration through Plymouth since the poll tax, and a blockade of roads by 42 refuse lorries. Now the council has backed down from making 400 job cuts and attacking conditions.
Local UNISON leader and Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate Tony Staunton told Socialist Worker, "The council was rocked by the publicity against privatisation." The council still aims at privatisation and the fight against that will continue, as will the fight to save two homes for older people still under threat.