Socialist Worker

Workers get ready to strike against Labour-run councils

Issue No. 2652

Protesting against privatisation in 2016

Protesting against privatisation in 2016 (Pic: Sandwell Unison)

Two councils are seeing a fightback by workers. In both of them, every single councillor is from the Labour Party.

Customer service assistants at Sandwell council in the West Midlands are set to begin industrial action on Friday of next week.

Members of the Unison and Unite unions voted by a stunning 100 percent for action on an 86 percent turnout. They are fighting over job grading.

Tony Barnsley, Unison branch secretary said, “The unprecedented 100 percent vote for action in a formal ballot by both unions just shows how strongly our members feel after they were denied a regrade on the duties that they currently perform."

The industrial action will affect housing offices in Tipton, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, Smethwick, Oldbury and Blackheath.

Workers are refusing to undertake any work that they were not assessed on.

This includes refusing to exchange information with other council departments, contractors or the private sector.

They will also not deal with any anti-social behaviour, homelessness cases or eviction queries. Unions estimate a correct job evaluation process would mean the workers earn an extra £5,000 a year each.

Meanwhile Newham council in east London is facing action from three different groups of workers after gas managers vote for strikes.

Council bosses withdrew a call out payment in December—worth about £550 a month—making them thousands of pounds poorer.

It comes as 75 workers in housing repairs and 45 refuse workers are voting on strikes. All three groups of workers are members of the Unite union.

  • Elections are taking place in the Unison union for the national executive. Socialist Worker backs candidates campaigning under the “Vote for action—vote for change” banner for a fighting union.
    For a full list of candidates campaigning for change go to

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