Socialist Worker


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.


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.

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.


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.

Sefton council

27 October 2001
SIX DAYS of strike action by 900 members of the UNISON union have forced Sefton council on Merseyside to reopen two of the care homes it shut. The income from the sale of a third site has been ring-fenced to be reinvested into social services, and a site is to be found for a new children's home.

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.

SOAS shows way in colleges

20 October 2001
ONE OF the liveliest contingents on Saturday’s demo was from London’s SOAS college. Sandy Nicoll is secretary of the college workers’ UNISON union branch.

In brief

20 October 2001
THE SOCIAL services branch of the UNISON union in Waltham Forest has passed a motion calling for one-day strike action against £2.5 million of council cuts. Workers and the local community were set to lobby the council on Thursday of this week.


13 October 2001
OVER 7,000 council workers in the UNISON union in Bradford are due to begin balloting on Monday for strikes against the restructuring of workers' conditions in the city. The Tory-Liberal council coalition is withdrawing from its 20-year agreement with the unions in an attempt to bring in more privatisation.


13 October 2001
AROUND 150 ancillary workers in the UNISON union at the new PFI hospital in Carlisle have voted by three to one to strike against the conditions offered by the Interserve private company they work for.

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