AROUND 100 people lobbied the West Midlands Regional Council of UNISON in Birmingham last Saturday. The protest was over UNISON leaders' suspension of the Birmingham council branch of the union, and disciplinary hearings they have instituted against leading activists and officials in the branch. UNISON leaders have now agreed to lift the branch suspension, and elections for new officials will get under way in the coming weeks. But the disciplinary hearings are still continuing.
This attack is part of the same assault on activists within the union that has seen UNISON leaders target Candy Udwin and Dave Carr at London's UCLH hospitals, as well as others like Glasgow UNISON social work convenor Roddy Slorach. In a case closely related to the attack on Roddy, the two UNISON stewards sacked by Glasgow council, Pat Maughan and Iain Fergus, began hearings at an employment tribunal this week claiming unfair dismissal. All of these cases stem from UNISON leaders' aim to clamp down on anyone who stands up to New Labour.
CARE WORKERS across Leicestershire have rejected a stitch up by their management and union regional officials. Council bosses offered to take the dispute to arbitration less than 24 hours before workers were due to strike for the second time. UNISON officials accepted the offer and suspended the planned industrial action. However, a mass meeting of over 300 workers last Thursday voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with a four day stoppage this week.