THE DISPUTE between Liverpool council and the Unison union has escalated, with the council withdrawing from a national agreement over facility time for shop stewards.
The Liberal Democrat run council’s move comes as an all-out strike by childcare social workers enters its 13th week. It also follows a national Unison rally held in Liverpool last week.
“Last week’s demonstration was really successful in getting support for the strike,” said one striker. “It’s still solid and we’re continuing to picket.”
Unison has called a mass meeting on Monday of next week for the whole branch to discuss the strike and the council’s withdrawal from national conditions of service.
“This is a serious attack on the trade union,” said one branch activist. “Now all our conditions are under threat.” The meeting is likely to consider a branch strike ballot.
“HOW COME you’ve been on strike for 12 weeks and we’ve heard nothing about it?”
That was the question put time and again to a delegation of Liverpool social work strikers when they spoke to trade unionists in Glasgow and the West of Scotland last week during a visit to build support their action.
Liverpool social workers need funds and want to speak at meetings.
In Glasgow and Ayrshire they got a good reception, and promises of financial support from the FBU union and from Unison social work stewards.
But this important strike needs to be much more widely publicised and supported.
To arrange meetings or obtain collection sheets phone Norman Smith at Liverpool Unison on 0151 236 1944 or e-mail Liverpoolunison@btconnect.com
The website for Professor Chris Jones’s New Engaged Practice manifesto for social work was incorrect in last week’s Socialist Worker.
The correct address is www.liv.ac.uk/sspsw/manifesto/Manifesto.htm
TEACHING ASSISTANTS in schools in Brighton and Hove are set to strike against low pay on Thursday and Friday of next week. Unison union members voted by 93 percent for action, while GMB union members voted by 88 percent.
The dispute revolves around the government’s schools remodelling programme, a flagship scheme for restructuring pay and conditions in schools.
While teaching assistants have been promised a pay rise, Brighton and Hove council is reducing the weeks they work to term time only, a cut of between five and seven weeks pay.
“For 90 percent of teaching assistants it will reduce the pay rise to 2p an hour,” says Alex Knutsen, Unison branch secretary in Brighton and Hove.
This year’s Unison’s local government conference voted to suspend cooperation with the remodelling programme.
There will be a rally for striking teaching assistants at Brighton and Hove Town Hall at 3pm on Thursday 25 November.