THE UNISON union was set to call further strikes across councils in Scotland in its fight for a pay increase of 5 percent or �500, whichever is greater. Representatives of Scotland's largely Labour-run 32 councils came up with a new insulting offer on Friday of last week. It worked out as no different from the offer workers had already rejected. The offer came as more evidence emerged of the success of last week's one-day strike.
The strike was solid across Scotland. There were a number of instances of members of other unions refusing to cross UNISON picket lines. That ranged from individual teachers and council workers through to 200 council bus drivers who respected a UNISON picket line in Glasgow. The scale of solidarity and sympathy for the strikes shows how effective escalating the action could be.
The strike has tapped the public mood for a fightback against low pay and declining conditions.
But UNISON leaders are talking about a one-day strike later this month and calling out particular groups of workers for partial stoppages. Such limited action is unlikely to shift the councils. Council workers in Scotland need to be arguing now to build whatever strike action is called and push for more.
One way to do that is to return the solidarity shown by many members of the TGWU union by not covering for their overtime ban which started this week. Council workers should join the planned march to scrap the council tax and replace it with a tax which hits the rich to pay for services.
BROMLEY COUNCIL in south London is to hold a disciplinary hearing against Glen Kelly, the UNISON union branch secretary.
They will charge him on two counts. The first is an alleged meeting with tenants to organise resistance to threatened cuts to night staff cover. The second is an allegation of misrepresentation of the council's intentions. As a socialist, Glen is simply standing up for the jobs of his members and the services provided by them.
UNISON has called a lobby of the social services committee in Bromley to defend jobs and services at 6.45pm on Monday 11 September at the civic centre, Bromley. The hearing against Glen is set to start in the week beginning 25 September.
UNISON members in Plymouth social services are to strike against cuts on Monday 11 September. The strike, first in a planned series, coincides with a meeting of the Tory council where plans to cut �1 million from the budget will be discussed. A demonstration through the city centre is planned for 11 September, starting at 12.30pm from Plymouth Hoe to a lobby of the Council House at 1.30pm.
CAMPAIGNERS were out in force in Islington in north London last Saturday, in their fight against massive cuts being pushed through by the borough's Liberal-controlled council. Community groups, old age pensioners, Labour Party members and the local SWP got a terrific response petitioning.
Socialist Worker spoke to one of the campaigners, ANDY, about what the cuts will mean: "I'M A carer. My dad has dementia. He's 89 years old. The council want to close the St Anthony's elderly care centre which he attends. The centre is a lifeline to a lot of elderly Cypriot people like my dad. Old people at the centre are in tears. The council have hit the very vulnerable, ethnic minorities and the elderly. They've hit day centres for kids and the unemployed. A lot of the buildings are being closed so that the council can sell the land off. It's diabolical. Last month we launched a campaign. Around 70 people from different organisations turned up. We have had a couple of demos outside the council chamber and are getting a lot of support."
- To get involved in the campaign against the cuts phone 0207 619 0459.
OVER 100 day centre workers in Ealing, west London, struck for the day on Tuesday of last week. The workers closed all seven day centres across the borough. The action was part of a continuing dispute over big attacks on pay and conditions across the council. Further selective action is planned.