RODDY SLORACH, the leading Scottish trade unionist expelled from his UNISON public sector union, will have his appeal against the decision heard on Thursday 27 January in Glasgow. The remarkable speed of this appeal suggests the union's leaders hope to ram through Roddy's expulsion. The case stems from a successful, but unofficial, strike of workers in Glasgow council's social work department over a year ago. They forced the Labour council to retreat on suspending workers who were following official branch policy in an industrial dispute.
UNISON leaders, however, denounced the action because it defied the anti-union laws. The council tried to sack Roddy last year. That attempt was beaten back by protests, though the council did manage to sack two other workers.
UNISON leaders' decision to expel Roddy from the union has to be opposed by every trade unionist. Rush messages of support to Roddy, letters of protest to UNISON leader Rodney Bickerstaffe.
- Fax protests to UNISON general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe on 020 7387 6692.
- Send messages of support to: Hands off Roddy Campaign, c/o Biggar, 255 Allison Street, Glasgow G42 8AH. Factsheets on the case and petitions are available from the same address.
- Lobby, Thursday 27 January, 9.30am, Central Hotel, Glasgow (Central Station).
SOME 1.3 million members of the UNISON public sector workers' union will begin voting in the election for the union's general secretary on 21 January. The ballot will run until 18 February. The key battle is between Dave Prentis, the current deputy general secretary, and Roger Bannister. Prentis stands for a continuation of the policies pursued by retiring UNISON general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe.
Many of the union's members are unhappy with the leadership's cosying up to New Labour and refusing to lead any serious defence of workers' interests. Last week even the reputable Nursing Times carried a full page article slamming Prentis and his campaign.
Roger Bannister, a member of UNISON's national executive, is standing as a socialist against Prentis. Bannister opposes the leadership's attacks on union democracy and the witch hunt against union activists. In every area activists need to organise meetings, mass leafleting and other activities to build the campaign.