Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/472/2028
Support the Unique Care workers
IF ENERGY, determination and unity were the only ingredients necessary to win an industrial dispute, then the Unique Care workers in Huddersfield would already be home and dry!
As the strike enters its fourth week, the women remain resolute. Almost daily pickets outside the Unique HQ are turning into a noisy and enjoyable experience, with singing, dancing and hugely effective chanting.
The strikers are meeting every day to keep up spirits and map out their activities.
Following the dismissal of the home care manager, the rest of the 18-strong female workforce walked out in solidarity.
They have suffered over a year of feeling harassed and intimidated by the company's executives who were trying to impose worse terms and conditions without negotiation.
"We will not be treated like slaves" is a phrase often heard from the women, who have bravely risked everything in walking out en masse.
They have received overwhelming support from the clients they were caring for, in this courageous stance.
Last week they went to the national TUC lobby in London to defend public services and were welcomed from the platform by David Prentis, the UNISON general secretary. This gave them a huge boost.
Closer to home, having already lobbied the council, they have now met with the council's chief executive who is interested to hear their story.
Kirklees council is caught in a double bind. All the work which Unique undertakes is sub-contracted to them by the council.
Yet this ruthless private-sector employer has sacked every worker at Unique, whether they were out on strike or not! Should the case get as far as a tribunal, the unwelcome publicity will rebound on the council.
As the workers' case is taken out to workplaces, they are meeting with huge sympathy and support. They are speaking at local solidarity meetings but would be prepared to visit towns and cities all over the country to spread the word.
Messages of support, donations and requests for speakers to be sent to UNISON, 20 Queen St Huddersfield, 01484 511826 or via Huddersfield Socialist Party: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In The Socialist 1 February 2007:
Socialist Party news and analysis
War and terrorism
International socialist news and analysis