Socialist Worker

Sefton council

Issue No. 1978

Nigel Flanagan and Paul Summers, the two Unison union officials sacked by Sefton council on Merseyside, have hit back against the council’s attempts to smear them.

They were sacked following a demonstration against the privatisation of council housing held in May in Bootle.

The council is now planning to rerun the housing transfer ballot, citing yet more spurious allegations against Unison and Defend Council Housing.

The charges levelled by the council against the pair include allegations that Paul Summers pinned a female council worker against a wall.

Paul states flatly that “the alleged incident between me and a female council worker did not take place”.

He added, “The person who made the complaint did not attend the hearings and had no other people who were able to support her allegations.”

Nigel was accused of physically confronting the council’s housing director during an argument at the demo. “Two police officers were stood right next to me during the exchange between us — and that is clear from the CCTV footage,” he said.

“We were arguing, but there was no physical contact or obscenities, and that is what the policewoman has said in her statement.”

Over 100 council workers in Sefton are on strike in an escalating selective action over the victimisations.

A one day strike of all 2,000 Unison members at the council planned for last week was suspended by the union for talks at the Acas conciliation service.

The council has refused arbitration in the past, but it is unclear what such talks can offer. Acas does not have the power to order the reinstatement of the two sacked officials. But stepping up the industrial action can force the council to back down.

Send messages of support and donations to Sefton Unison, Mersey Seaman’s Mission, Colonsay House, 20 Crosby Road South, Liverpool L22 1RQ or phone 0151 928 9911.

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Sat 26 Nov 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1978
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