Socialist Worker

Council workers

Issue No. 1990

Aberdeen City Council

Hundreds of school catering and cleaning staff in Aberdeen, overwhelmingly women, have voted in favour of strikes over equal pay.

Last week the workers’ T&G union announced that a ballot showed that 94 percent – 383 out of 407 returned papers – were in favour of going on strike.

One worker, Claudine Vincent, said, “We have had meetings for a whole year to try and get our money. We have had enough.”

The workers are demanding that Aberdeen City Council, which is run by a Tory-Lib Dem coalition, makes available bonuses which are available to those in male-dominated jobs.

The council is pressing ahead with “single status” changes equalising conditions between groups of workers when these can be used to cut wages. It is much less keen when such changes would favour workers.

Tommy Campbell, the T&G regional organiser, said, “It has been suggested that these women don’t understand what they are voting about. This is a disgracefully patronising attitude. The pressure for this ballot came from the women themselves and they have organised the campaign which led to this tremendous vote.

“This workforce have given a clear message that they are not going to be messed about with. That is why there has been this landslide ballot in favour of strike action.”

lAberdeen City Council announced last week that it plans to cut 1,000 jobs over the next five years.


Nottingham

Over 200 people lobbied Nottinghamshire council on Thursday of last week to oppose £21 million cuts.

New Labour council leaders had admitted that the proposals would involve hundreds of compulsory redundancies. They have also introduced draconian cuts in redundancy pay. An indicative ballot on the new redundancy arrangements produced a 90 percent vote for action.

Martin Sleath


Cheshire

Low paid administration workers in Cheshire are discussing the next stage forward in their dispute over the imposition of the national single status deal. The hundreds of Unison union workers struck successfully for one day two weeks ago. We are also being balloted over pensions with hundreds of thousands of other workers across the country.

Nina Hamill


Sheffield

About 50 disabled and older people lobbied Sheffield council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday of last week in protest at plans to raise care charges in the city by 165 percent.

The hourly rate for council care homes will leap from £3.20 to £8.50, while the cost of providing care in the home will rise from £1.60 to £4.25.

The cabinet deferred the final decision to a full council meeting on the Wednesday of this week.


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News
Sat 4 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1990
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