Socialist Worker


NHS action is getting results

02 November 2002
SOME 500 cleaners, porters and telephonists in Swansea were to vote this week on an improved offer from their private bosses, ISS Mediclean. Some workers are angry at their Unison union officials for calling off a planned week-long strike. More could have been won, but the Swansea workers have shown that action is getting results in the health service.

Refuse workers

02 November 2002
WORKERS AT Resourcesaver in Bristol took strike action last Wednesday over management reneging on a deal to cut working hours. Resourcesaver is responsible for collecting black boxes for recycling. Doug Varney from the workers' of the Unison union branch explained, "Management had agreed to cut the working week to 40 hours - that's five eight-hour days. Now management have imposed a standard nine-hour day.


26 October 2002
THE LONDON weighting dispute in higher education is continuing to spread. There was a one-day strike by support workers in the Unison union in the old (pre-1992) universities on 26 September.

Leeds Unison

26 October 2002
SOME 350 social workers in Leeds, members of Unison, held three days of strike action over pay last week. This follows a one-day strike in September and ongoing industrial action where workers refused to take on any new cases.


26 October 2002
HEALTH WORKERS in Swansea look to have forced giant private contractors ISS Mediclean into offering at least some staff better pay. The workers' Unison union postponed a week-long strike which was due to begin on Monday of this week. Over 500 low paid health workers working for ISS Mediclean have already taken three days of strike action.

Swansea health workers to escalate strike

19 October 2002
SOME 500 porters, telephonists and cleaners in the Unison union at Swansea's Singleton, Morriston, Hillhouse and Cefn Coed hospitals were on the verge of escalating strike action as Socialist Worker went to press. The issue is resistance to poverty pay levels.

Gloucester City Council

12 October 2002
OVER 100 members of Gloucester City Council UNISON union demonstrated outside the council headquarters last week. They were protesting against proposed closures, redundancies and cuts in the city's museums, archaeology unit, arts centre and sporting facilities.

Successful strike hits London colleges

05 October 2002
HUNDREDS OF college workers, members of the Unison union in 11 pre-1992 London universities, took strike action last Thursday as the first step in their campaign to win an increase in London weighting to £4,000. Faced with a freeze on London weighting for the eleventh consecutive year, workers demonstrated that they had had enough.

Royal London Hospital

05 October 2002
UNISON MEMBERS facing Britain's biggest PFI project have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action against an attempt to break their union. In a consultative ballot 78 percent voted to back an official strike ballot demanding the reinstatement of their union branch secretary, Phil Billows. Phil was suspended for spearheading a campaign against the huge PFI project at the Royal London and Barts NHS trust.


28 September 2002
LIVERPOOL council lifted the suspensions and the threat of sacking to a Unison union convenor and a senior shop steward last week. This was a terrific victory. The convenor and steward were both suspended two weeks ago and this was seen as a direct attack on union organisation.


14 September 2002
AROUND 30 Unison union members staged a lobby of Liverpool City Council controlled by the Lib Dems last week. They were protesting at what they see as management's victimisation of a Unison union convenor and a senior shop steward.

College staff set to strike

14 September 2002
BRANCH SECRETARIES in the Natfhe union were to meet on Friday of this week to discuss more strikes over pay by further education (FE) college lecturers. The union's FE committee is to meet on 21 September to confirm future action. Unison and other unions representing FE support staff are balloting for strikes. Activists in Natfhe are arguing for both a joint strike (probably on 5 November) and also using the lecturers' existing vote for action to hit college bosses earlier.

'We have been betrayed'

14 September 2002
WESTMINSTER Unison members are very angry and hurt by the decision by our union, both regionally and nationally, to instruct us to return to work. Union leaders called the return to work after a seven-week strike by nearly 300 Unison members against Westminster Tory council's plans for wholesale privatisation of services. This decision came after the council initiated legal action against the strike, using the anti trade union laws. But if the national and regional union had followed the strategy of the local branch, this legal action would not have happened.

Crucial fight to stop privatisation

07 September 2002
CAMPAIGNERS in east London have stepped up their fight to defend trade union rights and to stop a massive privatisation scheme. Over 40 people met on Thursday of last week to plan the campaign for the full reinstatement of Unison branch secretary Phil Billows (pictured right) at the Barts and Royal London NHS Trust.

Victory that can light fire against low pay

07 September 2002
VICTORY. That's the verdict of low paid health workers in Scotland after they took nine days of unofficial strike action. "We are over the moon with the outcome. This is a victory for all low paid workers in the NHS," said hospital porter and Unison union shop steward Bobby Reed.

Bosses threaten strike with anti-union laws

07 September 2002
TORY-CONTROLLED Westminster council has thrown down a major challenge to the Unison public sector workers' union. It was trying to use anti-union laws, introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Tory governments but kept by New Labour, to stop our strike action against privatisation.

Council workers

24 August 2002
WESTMINSTER council workers are continuing their fight against plans by their Tory council to privatise up to 80 percent of council services. National union officials of their Unison union were due to meet this week to discuss possible escalation of the action. This is a crucial strike which has bosses worried.

Phil Billows

24 August 2002
A RALLY has been called in defence of Phil Billows. He is the Unison union branch secretary at Barts and the Royal London Hospital Trust in east London. Trust bosses suspended Phil from his job over one month ago. Phil has been at the forefront of the fight against the PFI scheme at the hospital trust.


17 August 2002
UNISON UNION members in further education colleges are to ballot on strikes over pay. The 25,000 support staff have rejected a 2.3 percent pay rise, worth as little as 13p extra an hour for some workers. They are demanding a "substantial" increase that would see all support staff in England and Wales on at least £11,000 a year.

Lowest paid lead drive to reject half-baked deal

17 August 2002
HUGE NUMBERS of council workers across England and Wales are up in arms over the pay deal agreed by their negotiators last week. It is now out for consultation among council worker members of the Unison, GMB and TGWU unions. Consultation will last six weeks.

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