The Socialist 26 January 2001
Put the Fat Cats on Trial
Hackney Council Crisis Workers strike back at jobs threat
HACKNEY COUNCIL workers are holding mass meetings as we go to press to discuss three more days of strike action against council attacks on 29, 30 and 31 January.
Hackney workers need to follow up the marvellous one-day strike on 20 December because some workers face the sack, others face cuts in their weekly pay.
All remaining workers would see their redundancy entitlement reduced to the statutory minimum - some with 20 years service could find any future redundancy package slashed from £20,000 to £6,000.
The unions must not only fight all attempts to cut conditions but also forcibly oppose job losses. Those workers under threat of losing their jobs mustn't be left to struggle in isolation. The unity shown on 20 December must be maintained.
In an attempt to develop unity and democracy the following motion, moved by Socialist Party member Jude Ritchie (UNISON convenor, Education) was passed with a clear majority at a 70-strong all-union shop stewards' meeting.
"Any significant proposals put to management by the negotiating committee should be ratified by a stewards' conference or a mass meeting of the members".
As Jude Ritchie says: "People are willing to strike. They're not prepared to see 500 of their colleagues lose their jobs. The council also threaten to serve a 90-day notice on 1 February to change terms and conditions. This would mean workers who keep their jobs return to work on dramatically reduced terms and conditions at the end of the 90 day notice.
"The one day strike in December was massively successful with over 90% of workers participating. Yet councillors still ignore the unions' and workforces' opinions. It's only by taking further strike action that we can force them to listen to reason. I urge everyone to come out from 29-31 January."
Hackney UNISON, recognising the importance of a strong campaign in the community have produced leaflets appealing to both workers and the community. Council workers, Socialist Party members and community activists have leafleted most of Hackney's 27,000 council residents to build support for the strike.
A successful three-day strike in Hackney will be a big boost in the campaign to defend jobs and services in Hackney. It will also be a huge inspiration to all those other public sector workers around Britain fighting for decent public services.
Socialist Party public meeting:
Monday 29 January, 7.30pm
M.O.T.H. Club, Valette Street (near Hackney Town Hall)
Speakers: Brian Debus, Chair Hackney UNISON, Carlene Edwards- Unison shop steward Libraries, Bill Mullins- Socialist Party Industrial Organiser
Chair- Jude Ritchie
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