Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/323/9621
London's Low-Paid Fight Back
COUNCIL WORKERS, UNISON members, in London have started another five-week round of selective strike action to win £4,000 a year London weighting. The dispute has been going on since May 2002. Negotiations broke down again on 16 October when the employers withdrew the offer they had made to the GMB and TGWU.
THE FIRST day of the UNISON strike, for 4K London weighting, had a brilliant start on 10 November, with 16 pickets at Mayville School in Leytonstone, Waltham Forest.
Mike Cleverley, proud member of Waltham Forest UNISON
Management tactics to discourage union members from striking back-fired. As one teaching assistant member said: "I was very doubtful about the strike until I went to the staff meeting, when management's comments really showed me that we have to make a stand."
Pickets quickly organised their forces to cover the front and back gates and the nursery entrance.
We gathered support from the postman, dustcart and from the guy delivering the internal mail (known as Wells Fargo in these parts).
The support from both parents and teachers was extremely encouraging and really buoyed us up. Many parents were concerned about the lack of first-aiders and other health and safety issues, with most of the support staff on strike.
Teachers came out to our picket to wish us well. Several could not understand why the teaching unions were not out there with us.
After the picket it was straight round the local caff to organise a good picket for the entire two weeks of our action.
Workers who had never struck before chatted excitedly about our strength and the importance of being part of the union.
A new fighting mood is clearly developing which demonstrates correctness of the Socialist Party's confidence in extraordinary working people.
In The Socialist 15 November 2003: