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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2010

Nominate Roger Bannister: Unison's leadership battle

Swansea Unison workers protest against cuts and privatisation in Wales, photo Swansea Socialist Party

Swansea Unison workers protest - Unison members need a leadership capable of fighting to defend jobs and services. Photo Swansea Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Roger Bannister, who is seeking nominations to stand in the Unison general secretary election, commented on the latest round of job cuts announced by councils across the country.
quote marks 2 opening

Up here in Knowsley the Labour council are preparing to slash our jobs in the new financial year. In a pre-emptive strike they have unilaterally ripped up a long standing agreement for redeployment of those whose jobs have changed or gone.

People were put in a redeployment pool for five months. Only after that, if they still didn't have a job, they would be given three months notice of redundancy. This meant that redundancies were very rare.

The council now say - the three months statutory notice and that's it. It's clear that they are preparing the ground for a new wave of redundancies from April. We are organising a strike ballot at the moment, along with the Unite union branch, in opposition to this.

In a further development, we are organising a strike ballot over the defence of our 35-hour week agreement. We won this after strike action in 2001.

Under this agreement, workers working 37 hours have had their hours reduced to 36 and should have had them reduced to 35 by 2008. But it didn't happen. Now the council say that those on 35 hours will be forced to go up to 36 hours.

These attacks by Knowsley council reflect what is happening around the country on jobs and pay. Nationally the local government employers have offered a zero pay increase this year. Last year it was 1.5% which was in effect a pay cut.

The councils, year on year, have faced a 3% cut in grants under New Labour. According to one of our managers: 'They have trimmed the meat, now they're cutting the bone'.

Where is the current Unison general secretary Dave Prentis? What does he say about all this? He should be organising a national mobilisation of our members against these cuts in our jobs and pay and against the expected attack on public sector pensions, whoever wins the general election.

Prentis said at Unison conference last year that if the Labour manifesto did not contain key elements of Unison policy then Unison would further cut its financial support for the Labour Party. Brave words then but silence now.

quote marks 2 closing

If elected I will begin the process of ending the union's link with the Labour Party and, along with other unions, would call for the development of a new workers' party."

  • Nominations close on 1 April.
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    In The Socialist 24 February 2010:

    NHS: Not safe in their hands!

    Private 'vultures' to run NHS hospital

    How to stop cuts and defend public services

    Demo opposes £29m Notts county cuts


    Youth fight for jobs

    Young people deserve a future: Join the Manchester march for jobs on 13 March

    Youth Fight for Jobs Demonstrations


    Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

    RMT branch supports challenge to Denham

    Support the TUSC election challenge

    Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition General Election launch rally


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    British Airways cabin crew v management: Round two

    Anger on Teesside over Corus closure

    ID cards - an expensive threat to civil liberties

    Tories attack community café...

    Yarl's Wood hunger strike

    Fast news


    Comment

    The Eton co-op won't work


    Unison witch-hunt

    Nominate Roger Bannister: Unison's leadership battle

    Unison witch-hunt continues


    Workplace news and analysis

    South Wales: Demo against council cuts

    Staythorpe: the fight for workplace safety

    Port workers battle bosses... and high court

    Jobcentre staff fight cuts

    Leeds university: Support lecturers striking to save jobs

    Fighting leadership needed for UCU

    CWU women vote for political review


    International socialist news and analysis

    CWI Latin America school: A continent on the brink

    Iraq: All eyes on the oil prize


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Campaigning rights victory: But questions remain on new Waltham Forest policy


    Anti-racism

    How can the racist BNP be defeated?

    Scottish Defence League defeated: Working class political alternative urgently needed


     

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