Socialist Worker

Councils: single status unravels

Issue No. 1961


ABOUT 100 council workers from many areas met up on Saturday of last week in Coventry to discuss how to respond to a wave of attacks on pay, terms and conditions stemming from the government’s “single status” restructuring scheme.

Unison union members in Coventry organised the rally to build support for their industrial action against the city council, which has imposed a deal on them that will see wages slashed for many low paid workers.

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s national officer for local government, angered delegates by defending the single status agreement.

She left the rally early, but delegates expressed their anger that unelected Unison officers were undermining efforts to fight for properly funded settlements.

For details of how to support Coventry Unison’s single status dispute go to


MEMBERS OF Unison at Kirklees council acted quickly following a threat by the council to impose a “single status” pay and conditions deal.

A general meeting voted for non-cooperation with the job evaluation process and to reconvene in four weeks to vote on industrial action if no progress was made.

Within seven days of this meeting the council’s proposals were withdrawn. It has now agreed that the process will be conducted in the way Unison wanted.

The one area still to resolve is the issue of protection of pay for everyone. The branch agreed at its latest meeting to withdraw from the process if lifetime protection is not agreed by 1 October.

The national union’s position on this demand is that it will not be endorsed and is illegal. This is a disgrace—it is not the job of trade unions to back cuts for their members.

Mass meetings of nearly 400 low paid women Unison members understood this last week. The meetings had been called to discuss the council’s offer to settle equal pay claims. Members want real parity with their male manual work colleagues.

Kirklees Unison member


ABOUT 100 members of the Sefton Unison union branch, supported by other workers, lobbied a meeting at Bootle town hall two weeks ago.

People are furious that activists from their branch are being victimised. Four Unison activists have been suspended for handing out leaflets against council house privatisation.

Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary, is said to be coming to Sefton to support the activists. If he gives a clear call to members the branch can be mobilised.

Liverpool Unison member

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Article information

Sat 30 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1961
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