Socialist Worker


Councils: Spread the resistance

24 February 2001
All UNISON members at Kirklees council elderly people's homes went on strike on Monday of this week. The strikers are cooks, cleaners and care workers in 15 residential care homes for elderly people.

Dudley strikers

24 February 2001
Dudley hospitals strikers confronted their UNISON union leader Dave Prentis when they lobbied Labour's spring conference in Glasgow last weekend. Prentis came out of the conference to speak to the strikers, to pledge his support for their battle, and to underline his hope that a settlement could be achieved soon. But strikers wanted more.

Socialist Alliance round-up

17 February 2001
Some 60 workers and trade unionists attended Wigan's first Socialist Alliance rally last week. It was one of the best political meetings in the area for years. The branch secretary and both assistant secretaries of the local UNISON branch turned up, together with at least eight shop stewards from across many different unions. Community activists and a local Green were there, together with two tenants' reps.

Unions united in solidarity

10 February 2001
Some 1,300 council workers in Knowsley, members of the public sector union UNISON, struck on Thursday of last week against our bosses' plans to make us work longer hours. The strike was absolutely solid across the council.

Hackney's defiant fightback

03 February 2001
Around 5,000 council workers in Hackney, east London, struck for three days this week in a defiant response to cuts pushed through by the ruling Labour-Tory coalition. Max Caller, the council's managing director, and Labour leader Jules Pipe say the council's workers are overpaid and have too many holidays. "Caller gets £150,000 a year. How dare he tell people who work their guts out for £13,000 a year that they are overpaid," striking UNISON member Jane Brockway told Socialist Worker on Monday.

Scottish councils

13 January 2001
"This is about our union leaders letting New Labour off the hook," was how a worker in East Ayrshire council reacted to the news that leaders of the UNISON union are calling off strikes by council workers across Scotland. Workers in other Scottish councils had the same reaction. "There's a feeling of shock, of betrayal," argued a worker in Inverclyde council. "The union leaders are trying to ditch the fight, to help out New Labour in the run-up to the general election."

Chance to kick the councils over pay

26 August 2000
They are fighting against scandalously low pay. The mostly women council workers, members of the UNISON union, do jobs ranging from admin to social work, cleaning to catering. One council worker explained, "For years we have seen our pay fall when compared to other workers. People have suffered massive cuts. It's just a feeling that enough is enough."

UNISON round-up

05 February 2000
Roddy Slorach THE APPEAL against the expulsion of leading Scottish activist Roddy Slorach from his UNISON union was last week postponed until 7 March.

Police staff

18 December 1999
POLICE CIVILIAN staff in Manchester continued their campaign of strike action on Monday. Over 100 people attended the picket line outside Greater Manchester Police HQ. The campaign follows a "job evaluation report" which recommended pay cuts of up to £5,500 a year. This is in stark contrast to the chief constable, who received a £20,000 pay rise and spent £80,000 on a new toilet for his office. Following the first strike last week, management offered to delay the pay cuts by a year. The UNISON union has rejected this and has pledged to continue the action next week and into the new year.

Fight councils' attack on sick

18 December 1999
HARINGEY council again faced strike action this week by thousands of workers. This was despite the Labour council's attempt to head off action by a crude repackaging of its attack on workers. Workers in the UNISON and TGWU unions struck again on Tuesday, and planned a march on the town hall when the action continued on Wednesday.


18 December 1999
<h4Liverpool SOME 300 workers at Liverpool Community College held a one day strike on Tuesday of this week over pay. The strikers, members of the UNISON union, held picket lines on all the college sites.


11 December 1999
Sheffield A SHEFFIELD council worker has won his industrial tribunal case over disciplinary measures taken against him for his trade union activities. Paul Page works for private company CSL in Sheffield council's financial services section. The workers had been privatised by the Labour council, which lost office to the Liberals in last May's elections.

'Staggered' by attack

04 December 1999
"I WAS staggered to learn of the expulsion of Roddy Slorach. Stop the witch hunt - justice must be done." So said UNISON national executive member, and candidate in the union's current general secretary election, Roger Bannister, over the expulsion of one of Glasgow's leading trade unionists from his union. Roger's message of support for Roddy will be read out by a delegation from his Knowsley UNISON branch who plan to join a lobby in Glasgow on Saturday. UNISON members and other trade unionists from across Britain are to protest outside UNISON's Scottish Regional Council.

Vote for a fight

04 December 1999
THE FIGHT for the leadership of Britain's biggest union will be between a candidate wanting to cosy up to the government and a socialist standing against the attacks from New Labour. The election is a result of current UNISON leader Rodney Bickerstaffe's decision to stand down.

Manchester University

27 November 1999
SECRETARIES AND clerical workers at Manchester University struck on Tuesday of last week in a dispute over pay. Management had offered 3.5 percent but had set aside over 6.5 percent for a rise in the university's pay bill. The strike was solid, with over 40 people joining the UNISON union in the run up to the action.

Defend Roddy Slorach

27 November 1999
RODDY Slorach, one of Scotland's leading trade unionists, has been expelled from his UNISON public sector workers' union. UNISON leaders have thrown Roddy out of the union for daring to stand up to New Labour. The move has caused outrage. A major campaign is under way to win Roddy's reinstatement. Roddy explained to Socialist Worker what happened:


20 November 1999
MEETINGS ARE beginning to take place around the country to organise support for Roger Bannister's campaign in the election for general secretary of the UNISON public sector workers' union. Bannister is mounting a socialist challenge to Dave Prentis, the candidate backed by the union's existing leaders.

Anger at ballot cave-in

20 November 1999
HEALTH WORKERS in UNISON, the biggest union in the NHS, have been dismayed by the decision of union leaders to call off a ballot for industrial action. The union called the ballot in protest at the lousy 3 percent pay deal offered to cleaners, porters, and admin and clerical, and ambulance workers. Yet within days union leaders called off the vote - even though not a penny extra pay had been offered to some of the most poorly paid workers in the NHS.

Leading trade union activist expelled

20 November 1999
ONE OF Scotland's leading trade unionists has been expelled from his union. Roddy Slorach was thrown out of the UNISON union on Tuesday by union leaders who often claim to oppose New Labour policies. UNISON leader Rodney Bickerstaffe appears on TV attacking cuts in the public sector. The hollowness of that rhetoric is shown by his appalling treatment of Roddy.

Roger Bannister

06 November 1999
MORE AREAS are getting organised behind the campaign for the election of Roger Bannister for general secretary of Britain's largest union, UNISON. Activists on Merseyside met last week to plan a public meeting to build the fight for a socialist alternative to UNISON's current leadership.

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