Union under attack
UNISON MEMBERS working for east London's Newham council face a key battle straight after the holiday period.
The New Labour council has issued a deadline of 12 January for the union branch to vacate its office and the three full time branch officers to return to council work. The move, pushed by Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales, effectively derecognises the union branch.
A shop stewards' meeting has called a consultative ballot, whose result was due this week.
'We are getting a good response from members to fight his attack on their union,' says Newham Unison branch secretary Michael Gavan. 'If we get the support we hope for we will be asking regional and national officials for an official strike ballot as soon as possible in January.'
OVER 150 refuse collectors in North Lanarkshire struck for two days last week.
The dispute began when the Labour council wrote to workers saying that if they did not accept new contracts, with worse terms and conditions, then they could lose their jobs.
SOCIAL WORKERS in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, struck for a day on Wednesday of last week.
Calderdale social workers have been the lowest paid in the region for some time. The social services department has had a problem keeping childcare staff. To solve this problem it decided 18 months ago to pay qualified childcare social workers extra money.
Those workers left out are seeking the same increase. Management were unable to make any offer until the day before the planned first day of striking on 3 December, when they somehow found some money.
WORKERS AND supporters of the Camden Town Neighbourhood Advice Centre in north London have entered their third week in occupation, defying Camden's New Labour council, which wants to evict the community group from its premises.
The group has received support from local groups and individuals, including the local Unison branch. Last week bailiffs tried to carry out an eviction only to be turned away by protesters.
STAFF AT the Highbury Resource Centre in north London walked out last week in protest after a new management post was created without any prior consultation.
The workers refused to work until the assistant director came down to explain his latest act of deliberate provocation. Further action was due to take place on Thursday this week.
MIKE CALVERT, Islington Unison assistant branch secretary