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Swansea IT Workers Determined To Win
AROUND 500 Swansea council workers marched through the city centre last week in solidarity with the 102 IT staff who have been on strike for over a month in opposition to the proposed privatisation of their department.
Alec Thraves, Socialist Party Wales
UNISON, which represents some 5,000 council workers in Swansea, has now started balloting members in virtually every council department for industrial action in support of the striking computer staff.
The mood on the march and rally was upbeat and determined, with other council workers recognising that if the IT workers were defeated then their jobs could be next up for privatisation.
The importance of this dispute was highlighted by the attendance of UNISON general secretary, Dave Prentis, who addressed the rally and praised the Swansea strikers for their stance against privatisation of public service jobs.
UNISON reps from other departments and authorities across Wales also pledged their support to the strikers.
The new council coalition of Lib Dems, Independents and Tories which ousted Labour from office in June, is now facing an autumn of discontent if they continue along the road of outsourcing council jobs. Amazingly, the old Labour administration, who initiated this process over 12 months ago, now say they oppose their own original plans!
So, if Plaid Cymru councillors, who also claim they are not in favour of privatisation, and New Labour councillors joined forces in opposition, they would have the numbers to defeat the coalition.
However, council workers correctly recognise that they must depend on their own industrial strength to win this dispute and not rely on the empty words of politicians more concerned with their own careers than with the jobs and conditions of their employees.
Wembley Stadium Workers' Victory
THE 250 workers locked-out of the Wembley stadium construction site (see last week's the socialist) have won reinstatement on their previous terms and conditions. The issue of compensation is going to an industrial tribunal.
A coachload of the workers lobbied the TUC conference to get more support. They already had the official backing of their union, the GMB.
The workers were initially working for Cleveland Bridge which was dropped from the Wembley project and were all taken on by Fasttrack. This company were refusing to honour the transfer regulations (TUPE) and changed the workers' hours.
The Wembley workers successfully lobbied the Amicus union executive last week. They succeeded in getting the union negotiator removed who had escorted unskilled agency workers across their picket line.
In The Socialist 18 September 2004:
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