Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/466/1846
"Merry Christmas Mr SCCrooge"
UP TO 1,000 members of UNISON, from social services, schools, libraries and offices across Surrey, took strike action on 30 November as part of their fight for a 4% pay increase.
Paul Couchman, Adult Services Convenor, Surrey County UNISON, personal capacity
Surrey County Council (SCC) have imposed a 2% rise this year and 2% next year, ending years of negotiated pay increases. Earlier in the year, Surrey UNISON members successfully fought for the right to keep our annual pay review date of 1 April - though this was only through the threat of strike action.
There were picket lines at most schools and all of the main SCC offices and coaches were booked to bring members to a rally and strike meeting at County Hall for midday.
The picket at County Hall itself was lively and included striking Approved Social Workers who are on an indefinite overtime ban in their fight for overtime payments. Home-made banners abounded, including a string of banners saying 'Merry Christmas Mr SCCrooge'.
Around 250 members marched to a local hall and packed in to hear speakers from the UNISON branch committee and regional and national speakers. Messages of support were read out to cheers and the banging of placards on the hall floor. The mood was high and defiant.
Following the example of the victorious JJB Sports strikers, they all sang: "You won't get me I'm part of the union!" before discussing where to go next with the action. Even though members are worried about losing money in the run-up to Christmas, they voted unanimously to take another day's strike before the end of the year, to show SCC we are serious.
Around 30 copies of the socialist, which had a full article on the dispute, were bought by pickets. Watch this space...
Messages of support can be sent to Surrey County UNISON, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston, KT1 2DN or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check our website for details of further action:
In The Socialist 7 December 2006:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis