Socialist Worker

Unison


Mixed messages from Britain's biggest union

29 June 2002
THE NATIONAL conference of the giant public sector union Unison took place in Bournemouth last week, as 800,000 of the union's members in local councils in England and Wales balloted on strikes over pay. If that ballot, and similar ballots in the GMB and TGWU unions, are successful a massive one-day national strike of council workers could take place on Wednesday 17 July.

In brief

22 June 2002
Solidarity at the chalk face THE UNISON union strike made last week one of the most exciting I have ever experienced. I called a NUT union meeting on Tuesday, and 40 people turned up to decide our action. There was a fantastic discussion, and an emergency staff meeting was held on Thursday.

Angry and ready for united action

22 June 2002
THE MOOD for a fight for decent pay for public sector workers marked the conference of Britain's biggest trade union this week. So too did the growing feeling for united action over pay across the public sector. The main conference of the Unison union took place in Bournemouth after Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

Leisure workers

15 June 2002
IN A disgraceful attempt at union busting, Glasgow's Labour council has hired scab labour to break an official strike. Last weekend council officials hired the private firm Scotia Security. Along with senior managers, they were used to break the strike by 140 low paid Unison staff who work for the city's leisure and recreation service. The strikers asked council workers in other unions to respect their picket lines on Saturday and Sunday.

European Social Forum

08 June 2002
OVER 100 elected reps from branches of the Unison union in the south west of England met in Gloucester last week at the union's regional council. They voted overwhelmingly to support the European Social Forum. Representatives at the the regional council also agreed to send a delegation to Florence in Italy from 7 to 10 November.

Unison

25 May 2002
DELEGATES AT this year's conference for Unison members in higher education sent a clear message to their leadership over pay. A motion of no confidence in the executive was only narrowly lost on a card vote.

Debbie Fogg

11 May 2002
Debbie was a central member of Wolverhampton Socialist Workers Party for many years. She was also an active trade unionist and campaigner for women's rights. Until recently she was deputy branch secretary of the Wolverhampton Unison union.

'New Labour is still exploiting health workers'

04 May 2002
"An insult." "Taking advantage of our goodwill." "This government does not appreciate us." They were some of the reactions of health workers to chancellor Gordon Brown’s refusal to offer them decent pay after his recent budget. The workers were speaking on the first day of the health conference of the public sector Unison union.

KCL

04 May 2002
LIBRARY AND computing workers at Kings College London held a successful one-day strike on Thursday of last week. The workers, members of the Unison union, were protesting against a cost-cutting restructuring of the department.

Round-up

04 May 2002
OVER 100 people attended a public meeting on Monday of this week commemorating the Holocaust. The meeting was jointly organised by the Sefton Unison union branch on Merseyside and the Holocause Memorial Project. Two Holocaust survivors addressed the meeting about their experiences.

Strikes and ballots in May about pay

27 April 2002
PRESSURE FOR action over pay next month is spreading to major groups of workers. Council workers in the Unison union are balloting for strikes over London weighting, the payment to cover the extra cost of living in the capital. This would begin with a 24-hour stoppage on 14 May. Post workers are pushing for strikes in pursuit of their national pay claim (see left).

In brief

27 April 2002
Victory against Labour flagship COUNCIL WORKERS at New Labour's flagship council in Newham, east London, were celebrating a victory on Monday of this week. The victory came the day before the 2,500 workers were set to strike because the council had derecognised their Unison union. But on Monday the council backed down and signed an agreement to negotiate with the union.

Unison round-up

20 April 2002
COUNCIL WORKERS in the Tory borough of Wandsworth struck for the day last week in support of a sacked colleague. They were demanding the reinstatement of Unison union branch secretary Sarbani Mazumdar.

London Unison

13 April 2002
WE ARE building support across London for a yes vote in the forthcoming strike ballot over pay that will begin on Friday of next week. We could be out on strike on 14 May. There has already been a six to one vote in a consultative ballot by London council workers, who are members of the Unison union.

Glasgow porters 10, Sodexho 0

13 April 2002
Domestics and porters at Glasgow Royal Infirmary won a swift and important victory on Tuesday of last week over the multinational company Sodexho. Some 120 workers, members of the Unison union, walked out in a mass unofficial protest.

3,000 council workers strike in Cardiff

06 April 2002
Council workers in Cardiff struck on Wednesday of last week to defend a colleague who was sacked after speaking out over the underfunding of children's services in the city. Some 3,200 members of the Unison union took part in the strike, which closed offices and hit services across Cardiff.

It's a towering victory

23 March 2002
UNISON union members in Tower Hamlets, east London, are celebrating a victory after the council withdrew proposed new sickness, disciplinary and organisational changes. This follows a highly successful strike at the end of February, and plans for further strike action.

Women's TUC

23 March 2002
The women's TUC conference in Eastbourne last week saw anger at New Labour. Alongside the leading figures who spoke out against the government many ordinary delegates also echoed the feelings of anger at New Labour. Nancy Coull from Unison said, "This is my message to the government.

Round-up

16 March 2002
UNISON UNION members in Cardiff council are balloting for action in support of a union activist. Cardiff council sacked worker Charles Faber after he spoke to the BBC about the council's lack of resources in children's services.

The insult that won't go away

16 February 2002
"Tony Blair talks about public sector workers putting scars on his back, and then calls us wreckers. I think public sector workers should be a boil on Tony Blair's nose." Julie Pih, a Rochdale homecare worker, is furious with the government, especially after Blair's "wreckers" insult. She is one among millions. Julie was one of the delegates who expressed their anger at last week's Unison women's conference.

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