THE BIGGEST region of Britain's biggest union, UNISON, has thrown its weight behind the socialist challenger to the union's current leadership. One of the delegates at the UNISON Greater London Regional Council spoke about why they decided overwhelmingly to back Roger Bannister's challenge to take over from general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe after he steps down. She said, "The meeting showed a real mood against the union's leaders. "A statement opposing the union leaders' attacks on the recent lobby of the Labour Party was overwhelmingly passed. When Bannister spoke, he was applauded. Around 25 people got together at the end to organise around his campaign."
THERE WAS uproar at the annual conference of the National Organisation of Probation Officers (NAPO) last week when Home Office minister Paul Boateng spoke to delegates. He started off by trying to assure those attending the conference that they could trust the government's changes in tackling crime. He said, "I am a socialist minister in a socialist and democratic government. We are not going to tinker about. We have a radical agenda."
THE VERDICT in the long running union disciplinary case against Glasgow UNISON activist Roddy Slorach has been adjourned until 16 November. Roddy's reconvened hearing last week saw him rebut the union leaders' allegations against him. Scottish UNISON secretary Matt Smith, who carried out the initial investigation into Roddy, was not even present.
LONDON Underground workers on the Northern Line were celebrating a victory against management's attendance at work procedures this week. Members of the RMT union at Morden had balloted for strike action after driver Dave Emms was sacked for being ill. Management reinstated him the day before the result, which would have shown a big yes vote.
A LABOUR council's privatisation plans have been thrown into turmoil following the revelation of a document leaked to local socialists. Neath and Port Talbot council had been planning to privatise the schools meals service. The move could affect children and hundreds of workers' jobs.
AROUND 120 council workers joined a noisy lobby of Gloucester Labour council's meeting called to discuss the introduction of car parking charges. The council was discussing a motion put forward by the Liberal group calling for the £250 charge to be withdrawn. But the Labour councillors look set to continue with their policy.
TEACHERS' leaders have thrown away a fantastic opportunity to halt New Labour's assault on comprehensive education in its tracks. Leaders of the largest teachers' union, the EIS, agreed a pay deal with employers which falls far short of what teachers and pupils deserve.