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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 February 2007

Greenwich workers prepare to fight

A MASS meeting of Greenwich council workers heard how the council were determined to attack their pay and conditions. Under the guise of harmonising conditions, workers in all departments face cuts. This includes council gardeners who face a drop in pay of up to 130 per week.

Their fightback is being led by UNISON, which is calling for maximum unity across council unions and trades. When I spoke at the meeting I proposed a fightback led by local workers, not held back by regional full-time officials whose links to the Labour Party prevent them from leading a real fightback.

The meeting agreed that the trade union link with Labour must be broken; not just because of the millions wasted in donations from the unions to the Labour Party but because the link influences union policies.

The next four weeks will be crucial. UNISON members, via a consultative ballot, have voted in large numbers to be balloted for official industrial action.

The council have stated they will revise their package and present this to the trade unions on 19 February. However they have made clear that they now expect concessions from us.

UNISON members have adopted the slogan put forward by Socialist Party members: "Not a penny from our pay - not an hour on the day". UNISON are also clear that no group should lose, so that another can gain.

Why should workers make concessions when the bosses have looked after themselves so well? Last year the council chief executive readily accepted an 18,000 pay rise, taking her up to 178,000 per year.

Onay Kasab, Greenwich UNISON branch secretary, personal capacity

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In The Socialist 15 February 2007:

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