Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/813/18697
Leeds unions prepare for action
A shop steward
The trade unions within Leeds City Council's collective agreement - Unison, GMB, Unite and Ucatt, through the JTUC have formally notified the employer of our opposition to the cuts it is proposing. These attacks on our conditions are the biggest in 100 years.
The council has already made cutbacks of up to £150 million over the last three years resulting in almost 2,000 job losses.
It intends to wipe off another £150 million over the next three years with a further 600 jobs to go. The council cannot guarantee there will be no compulsory redundancies.
Many of the council's proposals around 'flexible working' arrangements and bans on overtime pay are already happening.
Some workers could face a £2,000 loss in pay dependant on the scale of the post. The employer wants to do away with shift allowances, overtime pay, and weekend and bank holiday enhancements, which could result in a further loss of pay.
Over the last two months the trade unions have organised several stewards' and members' meetings at many workplaces across the city that have combined the council cuts issues with the national pay dispute.
At a recent workplace meeting I organised, I invited Unison NEC member Vicky Perrin to address my members (in a personal capacity) about the issues we all face as local government workers. It was an excellent meeting.
It came as a surprise to my members that she is an ordinary worker on low pay and struggling just like us, and not a full time official on a fat salary.
We were frank about what austerity meant and what is necessary for all our members to win. We explained the possibility of coordinated action over pay and the need to be prepared to take action over cuts to our local conditions in the imminent future.
Vicky spoke about the ongoing Care UK dispute and a hardship fund for our members. Leeds Unison has donated £1,000 of its members' money to the fund.
The campaigning doesn't stop here. It is necessary to keep the pay ballot and the cuts to services in the minds of our members while voting takes place.
We must prepare our members to be ready for the first date of national action on 10 July.
In The Socialist 4 June 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Building the Socialist Party