Socialist Worker

Unison


Union with the unions?

16 November 2002
THOUSANDS OF trade unionists came to the European Social Forum. Their numbers reflected the rise in workers' struggle in much of Europe. There were members of many British unions present, including the CWU, RMT, Amicus, Unison, PCS, NUJ, Natfhe, Prospect, NUT and TGWU. There were more than 2,000 people at just one of the meetings on trade union struggles.

Council Workers

16 November 2002
STREET CLEANERS were on the picket lines at Ley Street depot in Redbridge, east London, last week. The Unison union members are part of the Londonwide campaign for £4,000 London weighting for council workers. Steve Wheeler, a street orderly on Wanstead High Street, said, "We had a pay cut ten years ago. People are fed up living hand to mouth. We are fed up working seven days a week for this money. It's wrong for the government to give themselves a 40 percent pay rise when they don't give it to the rest of us."

College workers

16 November 2002
THERE WAS a highly successful strike of lecturers in the Natfhe and ATL unions, and college workers in the Unison union across England and Wales on Tuesday of last week. Socialist Worker received reports from a number of colleges that we couldn't fit in last week:

Public Sector Alliance

09 November 2002
STRIKING RAIL workers on Arriva Trains Northern led an 800-strong march in Newcastle on Saturday called by the Public Sector Alliance. Other delegations included firefighters, postal workers (with a significant delegation from Oxfordshire), GMB and Unison union members, further education college lecturers, university lecturers, anti-war activists and others.

Refuse workers

02 November 2002
WORKERS AT Resourcesaver in Bristol took strike action last Wednesday over management reneging on a deal to cut working hours. Resourcesaver is responsible for collecting black boxes for recycling. Doug Varney from the workers' of the Unison union branch explained, "Management had agreed to cut the working week to 40 hours - that's five eight-hour days. Now management have imposed a standard nine-hour day.

NHS action is getting results

02 November 2002
SOME 500 cleaners, porters and telephonists in Swansea were to vote this week on an improved offer from their private bosses, ISS Mediclean. Some workers are angry at their Unison union officials for calling off a planned week-long strike. More could have been won, but the Swansea workers have shown that action is getting results in the health service.

Universities

26 October 2002
THE LONDON weighting dispute in higher education is continuing to spread. There was a one-day strike by support workers in the Unison union in the old (pre-1992) universities on 26 September.

Leeds Unison

26 October 2002
SOME 350 social workers in Leeds, members of Unison, held three days of strike action over pay last week. This follows a one-day strike in September and ongoing industrial action where workers refused to take on any new cases.

NHS

26 October 2002
HEALTH WORKERS in Swansea look to have forced giant private contractors ISS Mediclean into offering at least some staff better pay. The workers' Unison union postponed a week-long strike which was due to begin on Monday of this week. Over 500 low paid health workers working for ISS Mediclean have already taken three days of strike action.

Swansea health workers to escalate strike

19 October 2002
SOME 500 porters, telephonists and cleaners in the Unison union at Swansea's Singleton, Morriston, Hillhouse and Cefn Coed hospitals were on the verge of escalating strike action as Socialist Worker went to press. The issue is resistance to poverty pay levels.

Gloucester City Council

12 October 2002
OVER 100 members of Gloucester City Council UNISON union demonstrated outside the council headquarters last week. They were protesting against proposed closures, redundancies and cuts in the city's museums, archaeology unit, arts centre and sporting facilities.

Successful strike hits London colleges

05 October 2002
HUNDREDS OF college workers, members of the Unison union in 11 pre-1992 London universities, took strike action last Thursday as the first step in their campaign to win an increase in London weighting to £4,000. Faced with a freeze on London weighting for the eleventh consecutive year, workers demonstrated that they had had enough.

Royal London Hospital

05 October 2002
UNISON MEMBERS facing Britain's biggest PFI project have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action against an attempt to break their union. In a consultative ballot 78 percent voted to back an official strike ballot demanding the reinstatement of their union branch secretary, Phil Billows. Phil was suspended for spearheading a campaign against the huge PFI project at the Royal London and Barts NHS trust.

Round-up

28 September 2002
LIVERPOOL council lifted the suspensions and the threat of sacking to a Unison union convenor and a senior shop steward last week. This was a terrific victory. The convenor and steward were both suspended two weeks ago and this was seen as a direct attack on union organisation.

Councils

14 September 2002
AROUND 30 Unison union members staged a lobby of Liverpool City Council controlled by the Lib Dems last week. They were protesting at what they see as management's victimisation of a Unison union convenor and a senior shop steward.

College staff set to strike

14 September 2002
BRANCH SECRETARIES in the Natfhe union were to meet on Friday of this week to discuss more strikes over pay by further education (FE) college lecturers. The union's FE committee is to meet on 21 September to confirm future action. Unison and other unions representing FE support staff are balloting for strikes. Activists in Natfhe are arguing for both a joint strike (probably on 5 November) and also using the lecturers' existing vote for action to hit college bosses earlier.

'We have been betrayed'

14 September 2002
WESTMINSTER Unison members are very angry and hurt by the decision by our union, both regionally and nationally, to instruct us to return to work. Union leaders called the return to work after a seven-week strike by nearly 300 Unison members against Westminster Tory council's plans for wholesale privatisation of services. This decision came after the council initiated legal action against the strike, using the anti trade union laws. But if the national and regional union had followed the strategy of the local branch, this legal action would not have happened.

Crucial fight to stop privatisation

07 September 2002
CAMPAIGNERS in east London have stepped up their fight to defend trade union rights and to stop a massive privatisation scheme. Over 40 people met on Thursday of last week to plan the campaign for the full reinstatement of Unison branch secretary Phil Billows (pictured right) at the Barts and Royal London NHS Trust.

Victory that can light fire against low pay

07 September 2002
VICTORY. That's the verdict of low paid health workers in Scotland after they took nine days of unofficial strike action. "We are over the moon with the outcome. This is a victory for all low paid workers in the NHS," said hospital porter and Unison union shop steward Bobby Reed.

Bosses threaten strike with anti-union laws

07 September 2002
TORY-CONTROLLED Westminster council has thrown down a major challenge to the Unison public sector workers' union. It was trying to use anti-union laws, introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Tory governments but kept by New Labour, to stop our strike action against privatisation.

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