Socialist Worker


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


17 November 2001
Council workers in Bradford are set to strike for half a day on Wednesday of this week. The strike comes after council workers, members of the UNISON union, voted to strike by 64.5 percent. Some 78.5 percent voted yes for action short of strike action.

UNISON United Left

10 November 2001
Up to 150 members of the UNISON public sector workers' union met in Manchester last weekend to launch UNISON United Left. The organisation brings together all those on the left within the union, and represents a significant step forward. There were speakers from Sefton, where union members have won a victory in a fight over care home closures, and from the Glasgow medical secretaries' strike.

Councils round-up

03 November 2001
Around 100 angry social services staff in the UNISON union stormed into Brighton and Hove City Council HQ on Wednesday morning of last week, and occupied the office of the director of social care and health.

An all-out strike is the way to victory

03 November 2001
Medical secretaries in Glasgow have won a brilliant victory. The 300 low paid hospital workers, all members of the UNISON union, won because they were prepared to stand up and all take indefinite strike action. The all-women workforce refused to be cowed by a management that issued threats and treated them as second class.

Mark New elected to Unison NEC

27 October 2001
Mark New, a leader of the Dudley hospitals workers' strike and the candidate of the United Left, has been elected to the national executive committee (NEC) of public sector union Unison. Mark was elected by health workers in the union for a "health" seat on the union's NEC.

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