Socialist Worker

Unison


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.

Lecturers

16 February 2002
The proposed all-out strike action at Huddersfield Technical College by Unison union members which was to begin on Monday of this week has been suspended until the end of the month.

Blair is the real 'wrecker' - not trade unionists

16 February 2002
Trade Unionists in Cardiff last week lined up to attack Tony Blair for branding them as "wreckers". They were in the same venue that Blair had used to make that speech. This time it was filled with 500 women members of the Unison public sector union.

Councils

16 February 2002
Some 40 Lambeth council workers in special housing services held a second day of strike action on Tuesday of last week in protest at the sacking of Unison steward Alex Owalade.

London Unison, Teachers & Natfhe

09 February 2002
Tens of thousands more workers in London are to be balloted on possible action over pay. Council workers, health workers, higher education admin workers and more could be united in a vote across the capital which could pave the way for action. We reported in Socialist Worker last week that delegates from Unison union branches across London had backed an indicative vote among council workers.

We need deeds to match the words

09 February 2002
"I am under pressure from rank and file members of my union to disaffiliate from the Labour Party." That was the message from Dave Prentis of Unison to his fellow union leaders last week. Both Unison and the GMB union have launched big advertising campaigns in response to Blair's "wreckers" insults. They rightly point out that public sector workers are not wreckers.

Health workers

02 February 2002
Medical secretaries in hospitals across the north east of England are gearing up for a fight over pay. The move follows the victory won by medical secretaries in Glasgow last year, when all-out strike action won a regrading and so higher pay. "Medical secretaries are the hidden workers in the NHS," explained Clare Williams, chair of health in the Unison union's northern region. "They check records and send out appointments.

Waiting for a capital pay vote

02 February 2002
Over 85,000 Unison union members working in local councils across London are moving towards action over pay. In a few weeks workers in all the 32 London councils will be taking part in an indicative ballot organised by the union. If that goes well a ballot on action will follow, and could coincide with May's council elections.

Fury reaches right to the top of the union

26 January 2002
Alan Milburn's plan to ram through even more privatisation in the NHS sent shock waves through the Unison executive last week. A meeting of the union's health executive was so stunned that its business was suspended to allow people to take stock of Milburn's plan and discuss our response.

Council round-up

01 December 2001
Caretakes in Edinburgh are set to take strike action to try to win more money for working long hours. Some 100 caretakers, members of the UNISON union, have agreed to boycott work for three days next week and another three days the following week. Some 90.3 percent voted for strikes in an official ballot.

Union's shoddy deal over PFI

01 December 2001
Leaders of the giant public sector UNISON union hailed a deal they struck with the government over the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) last week. The union claims the deal is a victory which will stop thousands of health workers having their jobs transferred to private companies.

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