Liverpool strike solid
'THIS IS about bullying.' Those were the words of one social worker who joined around 145 colleagues on strike on Friday of last week. The social workers, who work in childcare in Liverpool, were out on the first day of a three-day strike over management bullying, excessive workloads and lack of staffing.
They were supported by colleagues in the GMB/Apex union who, in many workplaces, refused to cross picket lines. Union members voted to go ahead with the action at a mass meeting on the previous Wednesday.
Unions felt they were close to reaching a settlement earlier that day. Management had offered consultation on caseloads, which members have been asking for, and offered a review of administrative support to social workers. Talks broke down when the unions asked for one extra admin person per office while the review was conducted. Management refused this and threatened to take all proposals off the table if the strike went ahead.
Union members were incensed when this was reported back to the mass meeting. Many administrative staff have been taken off the payroll for refusing to cross picket lines, even though management promised they would be relocated. The first day of strike action was successful, with pickets present at all offices affected by the dispute. The next step now is a mass meeting to discuss further action.
LIVERPOOL UNISON MEMBER
Send donations for the hardship fund and messages of support to: c/o Unison Liverpool City Branch, Rooms G01-G05, Ground Floor, Cotton Exchange Building, Bixteth Street, Liverpool.
NEWHAM COUNCIL in east London is renewing its attack on the Unison union branch. The New Labour council is again threatening to evict the branch from its offices and axe facility time for the branch's full time officers. The council was forced to retreat from a similar threat after Unison members voted for an official strike and a mass picket of the union offices to meet any eviction attempt.
Now the council is claiming a union branch newsletter is unacceptable and renewing its threats. If the council goes ahead, the branch should respond with a mass picket of union offices and a demand that regional union officials sanction official strike action.
Send messages of solidarity to Newham Unison. Phone 020 8430 2000 ext 23426 or 07005 204 212, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org