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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 June 2007

Greenwich UNISON wins concessions

GREENWICH UNISON is continuing to fight the council's 'single status' proposals. In November 2006, the council spelt out cut after cut for workers. But the branch's determined stance has led to a number of concessions.

Onay Kasab, Greenwich UNISON branch secretary, personal capacity

For example all waste services, caretaking, road sweeping, catering and cleaning employees will see increases in pay.

In addition, the campaign has secured a reduction in the working week from 36 to 35 hours, five extra days annual leave for manual workers and higher overtime rates.

But the campaign continues. Unlike the national union, the branch is refusing to engage in concession bargaining.

The branch position is to reject any proposals that lead to the loss of a single penny from a single UNISON member. Our slogan is: "An injury to one is an injury to all".

Many workers still face cuts in pay. Homecare workers face a loss of 24.21 per week and gravediggers face a loss of over 18 per week.

There are also likely to be losses in 'white-collar' areas. Details of the new grades have not been passed to the trade unions. In addition the council will be cutting 'out of hours' enhancements for white-collar workers working evenings and weekends but once again has kept these proposals hidden.

They are proposing to abolish weekend enhancements for social workers in mental health departments, leading to an average cut of 3,000 per year. Workers who refuse to accept the terms have been told they will be sacked and offered a new contract without the enhancement. The branch has made clear that should that happen, we will defend our members through industrial action.

This campaign has shown once again that with the correct leadership at a local level major concessions can be won.

What is now urgently needed is national union leaders leading national campaigns and showing just a fraction of the willingness to fight that exists amongst workers.

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In The Socialist 21 June 2007:

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Greenwich UNISON wins concessions

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