Socialist Worker


Merseyside: Working to stop BNP

20 September 2003
MERSEYSIDE TUC organised a conference last Saturday to build a campaign against racism and fascism. Some 50 people attended the Merseyside Against Racism and Fascism foundation conference, including representatives of the PCS, Unison, Amicus and TGWU unions. Delegates agreed to launch the Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism to fight against the Nazi BNP in the area.

Final push for votes in Brent by-election

13 September 2003
THE PARLIAMENTARY by-election in the Brent East constituency in west London takes place on Thursday of next week. Brian Butterworth, a Unison union branch secretary, is the Socialist Alliance candidate. He spoke to Socialist Worker about why he is standing, and why he thinks Brent needs a socialist alternative:

United we can stop the BNP

13 September 2003
THE BNP were beaten in a council by-election in Walker, Newcastle, last week. Kenny Bell, deputy regional convenor of Unison Northern Region, explained how unions are at the centre of a model campaign to beat the BNP.

Nurses step up pressure

30 August 2003
NURSERY NURSES in Scotland plan to escalate their action against low pay and for respect for the valuable job they do. The workers' Unison union has said that nursery nurses across Scotland will strike for a week, between Monday 8 September and Friday 12 September, unless Scotland's local authorities come up with a decent offer. The week of strikes will culminate in a protest at Glasgow Green on Saturday 13 September.

London councils

09 August 2003
ON WEDNESDAY of this week strikers from 30 London Unison union branches were due to march through central London to a rally. This action came at the end of their latest four week long round of selective strike action in pursuit of a London weighting allowance of £4,000. The latest strike has seen the highest involvement of strikers, with 1,500 members bringing a range of council services to a standstill. The employers have been left in no doubt about their workers' determination to win the full claim.


26 July 2003
TECHNICIANS AT one of Britain's biggest PFI hospitals, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, walked out on Friday of last week. The workers, members of the Unison union, were furious after being told by their trust bosses that their jobs could be sold off to a private company.

London weighting

26 July 2003
STRIKE ACTION by different groups of workers in London councils continued this week. The battle is over a demand for £4,000 London weighting. Unison announced this week that it is extending future actions wider than the original boroughs targeted.


26 July 2003
OUR STRIKE is showing people's determination and enthusiasm to win something over London weighting, the allowance for living and working in the capital. The selective action we began last week means that up to 1,500 Unison members across London councils are out, most for four weeks. That is a significant escalation on the selective action that has been running over recent months.

Unity message in north east

19 July 2003
THOUSANDS OF people attended the biggest Durham Miners Gala in over a decade on Saturday of last week. The event was co-sponsored by the National Union of Mineworkers and the Unison union. It attracted the support of many other trade unions, including the RMT, Aslef and Usdaw.


12 July 2003
SOME 80 trade unionists from Natfhe, Unison, PCS, FBU, Usdaw and Amicus marched with their banners in Manchester last Saturday. The march was over the bullying of staff at the Mancat college. One department with 20 posts has seen 35 pass through it in two years. The management made an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the branch secretary last year. Now the college has declared compulsory redundancies in the trade union education unit, which includes a number of union branch activists.


05 July 2003
OVER 400 people attended a union mass meeting in Liverpool on Monday of this week. The workers, members of the Unison union, are employed by the Liberal Democrat run council in Liverpool.

Tension with New Labour

28 June 2003
Tension with New Labour

Leaders lean left to defend Labour link

28 June 2003
"MR BLAIR, we will take strike action again." This warning came from Dave Prentis last week at the conference of the Unison union. He is the general secretary of the 1.3 million strong public sector workers' union. Prentis praised the strikes the union's members have staged in the last year. He warned more would follow unless the government coughed up to tackle low pay and improve schools and hospitals.

Funds debate won't go away

21 June 2003
THE NATIONAL conference of Britain's biggest union got under way on Tuesday as Socialist Worker went to press. Delegates representing 1.3 million members of the Unison public sector workers' union faced a series of key debates.

Sandwell protest at BNP councillor

31 May 2003
AROUND 80 people protested against the first council meeting of Nazi BNP councillor John Savage in Sandwell, West Midlands, on Wednesday of last week. The protesters were mainly members of Sandwell Unison union. Tony Barnsley, the assistant branch secretary of Sandwell Unison, said, "We think the BNP have conned their way into power by blaming asylum seekers. Our members, particularly our black and Asian members, feel threatened by the BNP. I will refuse to work for them and we are encouraging our members to do the same." Another BNP councillor failed to show up for the meeting.

Don't copy this sell-off example

31 May 2003
COUNCIL WORKERS in Luton from the TGWU, GMB and Unison unions held a 40-strong protest of the council on Thursday of last week. Workers were protesting against plans to privatise the building, cleaning and printing departments. Jim Gregg, Unison branch secretary, said, "These are loyal, dedicated workers who after years of operating under difficult conditions are now finding themselves outsourced."

Nursery nurses

24 May 2003
SOME 140 nursery nurses in Kirklees completed five days strike action last Friday. The strikers, who are members of the Unison union, had already taken four days of action as part of their campaign to win a regrading. The action is having a big effect.

Determined to win decent pay for all

17 May 2003
WORKERS IN schools, council offices and universities - some of them among the lowest paid in London - struck last week as part of their union's campaign for decent allowances for working in the capital. The council workers' action was over three days and involved about 1,000 Unison union members in selected schools and offices.

'We care too much not to fight back'

17 May 2003
AROUND 140 nursery nurses in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, started a five-day strike on Monday. The strikers, who are members of the Unison union, have already taken four days of action and have now stepped up their campaign to win a pay regrading. Jill Hinchliffe, a nursery nurse shop steward, said, "We are determined to win our fight. We have been underpaid for years and they thought we would just put up with it because we cared about the future of the children. But that is the reason that this fight is so important because it is a scandal that so much of the education system relies on low-paid women. There was no shortage of money for the war in Iraq. That money should have been used to p

London weighting

10 May 2003
Some 2,000 Unison union members at pre-1992 universities in London were due to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. It is part of the ongoing campaign to win an increase in London weighting, the allowance for the extra costs of living and working in the capital, to £4,000. After three one-day strikes across all the London colleges employers in the post-1992 universities made an offer. The 6.5 percent increase was narrowly accepted.

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