LEICESTERSHIRE: Around 500 care workers across Leicestershire took part in the first of a series of one day strikes last Saturday against plans to cut wages. Leicestershire County Council bosses are trying to impose new contracts which will take away weekend shift allowances. This would cost some workers up to £2,000 a year. It is also feared that this pay cut could pave the way for privatisation. Support for the strike was solid amongst the mainly female part time workforce. Two rallies of about 100 strikers and supporters took place during the day. The workers planned more strikes this week and next unless management backed down.
Donations and messages of support: Leicestershire County UNISON, Room 419, County Hall, Glenfield, Leicester LE3 8RN. Fax 0116 265 6151.
CUMBERNAULD: Care workers in Scotland delivered a thumping 98 percent yes vote for union recognition last week. The 80 staff at Enable homes in Cumbernauld backed recognition for public sector union UNISON under the new employment rights legislation due to be introduced in June.
WANDSWORTH: Council workers in Wandsworth, south London, struck last Wednesday against their Tory council's attack on sick pay and annual leave. The fight, which saw a previous one day strike before Christmas, has rattled the Tories and won concessions. The council has now dropped threats to cut workers' annual leave, and says that no existing workers will be affected by its plan to force workers to work back or pay back time off sick.
But the council still wants new starters to accept its sickness plan. This will be a Trojan horse which will undermine conditions for all workers. At a union meeting last Friday workers rejected the council's plan but unfortunately also suspended further strikes. Over 300 workers have joined UNISON as a result of the fight. The key will be turning that into real organisation.
CAMDEN: A rash of protests rattled Camden council in London last week. Housing workers held a mass meeting over plans to reorganise their work under New Labour's Best Value plans. The workers demanded no cuts, no job losses, no call centres and no privatisation, and voted to ballot on strikes if their demands were not met. The same evening 60 parking wardens successfully lobbied a council committee, forcing it to reject a plan to sell off their jobs to a private company.