Socialist Worker

In Brief

Issue No. 1931

15 weeks out and still fighting

STRIKERS IN Liverpool are appealling for solidarity as they continue their all-out strike.

The Unison union’s national industrial action committee voted to continue backing an all-out strike by social workers in Liverpool council’s childcare and emergency duty departments.

The decision to re-endorse the dispute came on Tuesday this week as Socialist Worker went to press. Unison pledged a further £50,000 to the Liverpool hardship fund.

The strikers have been out for 15 weeks, facing down bullying from the Liberal Democrat controlled council.

Both sides will visit the ACAS conciliation service on Monday next week, and the industrial action committee will meet again on Monday 20 December to reassess the situation. Strikers are depending on solidarity messages and donations over Christmas.

They have also called on rank and file union members to ensure their regions continue to support their action.

Kidnap jibe gets angry response

A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has resigned as education chief for Southwark, south London, after “joking” about kidnapping Caribbean boys in a council meeting.

Bob Skelly was asked by opposition councillors about what he was doing to address the below average educational performance of Caribbean schoolboys in the borough.

He replied, “Every evening I go out in a big van and kidnap some Caribbean boys. I berate them about their lack of commitment to education and give them a booster lesson in English.” Skelly later claimed his comments were “tongue in cheek”.

But Nick Stanton, leader of the council, described them as “crass and stupid”. Skelly had been suspended from the Liberal Democrat group, he added.

Prior to being elected a Liberal Democrat councillor in May 2002, Skelly worked as a teacher in the borough for 31 years before retiring.

He also served on the executive of ATL, the third largest teachers’ union.

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Article information

Sat 11 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1931
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