Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1707


LEADERS OF the public sector workers' UNISON union in Scotland are ignoring a democratic vote and look set to allow Glasgow Labour council to get away with sacking two shop stewards.

UNISON members in Glasgow's social work department last week voted to strike to win back the jobs of Iain Fergus and Pat Maughan. The two were sacked over a year ago after joining a protest in solidarity with fellow shop steward and social work department union convenor Roddy Slorach.

An employment tribunal earlier this year ruled that Pat and Iain had been sacked unfairly and ordered their reinstatement. The council has been refusing to implement this decision. The ballot of over 3,000 UNISON members last week saw a 54 percent majority for a one-day strike followed by all-out action if the council did not back down. But leaders of Scottish UNISON immediately ruled out any action, claiming there was not enough support.

"That is nonsense," argued one worker. "The turnout was around 30 percent, above average for a postal ballot. It was certainly higher than the turnout for the general secretary election in UNISON, which was only 17 percent." "We are appalled at the decision," said Iain Fergus.

It would be a disgrace if Britain's biggest union allowed a Labour council to simply trample on the law and ignore the employment tribunal ruling. The refusal to call action has sparked anger across many social work offices in Glasgow.

"It's a complete denial of democracy," argued one worker. "In my workplace people are furious and have signed a statement condemning the decision." Workers are trying to get their union leaders' outrageous decision reversed. Petitions demanding an emergency branch committee meeting of shop stewards across the council are circulating this week.


A LEADING activist in the Birmingham branch of the public sector workers' UNISON union has been expelled from the union. Salman Mirza, who was recently elected as the branch's black members' officer, was expelled two weeks ago. Three other union reps in Birmingham have been expelled and another three still face disciplinary hearings. This attack is part of the UNISON leadership's witch-hunt against socialists and activists in the union who have led campaigns challenging New Labour's Tory policies.

  • Fax messages of protest to Dave Prentis on 020 7551 1461.

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Article information

Sat 29 Jul 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1707
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