HACKNEY REFUSE workers have suspended their strikes against the imposition of new contracts. The Labour council tore into the workers and their unions after they took action against pay cuts of up to £3,000.
The repression has included threatening to discipline up to 18 activists. Planned strikes were called off last week after union officials put forward proposals based around the theme of 'money back, people back'-the return of the money and nobody sacked.
The council has indicated more money may be available and are discussing with the union how this can be targeted. An agreement has to be reached by the end of February in order to meet government deadlines.
The council clearly believed that the strikes would fall apart after a couple of days. But the determination and courage of the strikers held the line. Wider support from other trade unionists and Respect activists was important in raising the strikers' spirits.
If there are sackings then there will be no deal. Refuse workers must monitor the talks very closely to ensure a decent deal and no surrender to a vicious council which launched a nasty political assault. More hard-hitting action must be called unless the council retreats.
CHILDCARE SOCIAL workers in Liberal Democrat run Liverpool council have voted for strikes over staff shortages, workloads and scapegoating of staff. In a ballot of Unison members, 89.6 percent backed action up to and including strikes.
At a mass meeting last week, where the ballot results were announced, staff voted to begin action short of strikes from Wednesday of this week, leading to a three-day strike from Friday 27 February. The action will include social workers in the Emergency Duty (out of hours) team and social workers in Liverpool council's flagship call centre.
Workers feel they have already won a first victory. Days before the strike vote was announced management ended the derecognition of our senior shop steward-a popular and respected worker. We are now confident that by standing firm we can win over the staffing issues, workloads and scapegoating of colleagues.
UNISON MEMBER, Liverpool
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