THE FUTURE of the four month long all-out strike by social workers in Liverpool’s children and families team was hanging in the balance as Socialist Worker went to press this week.
Strikers were due to meet on Wednesday to discuss whether to accept a recommendation by the Unison union’s national industrial action committee to accept a negotiated settlement and return to work by 11 January.
The alternative for the strikers is to escalate the industrial action by extending it across other sections of Liverpool city council’s Unison branch.
A mass meeting of over 500 Unison members held at the end of November voted unanimously to ballot for further action in support of the social workers.
Unison’s decision to withdraw national support for the strike came at a meeting held on 20 December, following talks at Acas.
“It places us in a difficult situation,” said one striking social worker. “Strikers weren’t in agreement with decisions being made at branch and regional level.”
In particular, strikers say they had already rejected certain forms of wording negotiated between regional union officials and the council.
Strikers are also unhappy about the return to work agreement, which they feel does not offer them sufficient protection from victimisation by a bullying management.
Teesside Council workers on Teesside could strike over pay cuts.
Redcar and Cleveland council, which is controlled by the Tories, Liberal Democrats and some independents, is reviewing the pay of non-teaching staff and catering staff in its schools.
Its plans could see the working hours of cooks in primary schools slashed, and cuts to pay and conditions for staff on term-time only contracts—such as teaching assistants and administration officers.
Brighton A planned one-day strike this week by teaching assistants in Brighton and Hove has been postponed while talks take place with the Labour-controlled council.
If an agreement is not reached the strike will go ahead on 19 or 20 January.