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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2014

Unison local government members want action on pay

Neil Cafferky

Local government conference for Unison opened up in a very difficult period for local government workers.

A report given by the union's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, stated that 85% of surveyed local government workers said their workload was up and 77% said they were cutting spending on food. Council workers' debts had increased by almost 60%.

Naturally conference was dominated by the question of industrial action over pay with a great deal of debate over the action on 10 July and the possibility of action on 9-10 September.

It was clear from many of the speeches of delegates that there is a mood for action and for victory on this issue.

This mood was best summed up by Vicky Perrin speaking on a motion about celebrating the work of teaching assistants, saying the best way to celebrate the work of teaching assistants is by taking strike action on 9-10 September.

The other frequently occurring issue at conference was anger towards the Labour Party. Speakers form the floor and the leadership expressed distaste at Ed Miliband's photo opportunity with the Sun.

One of the loudest cheers from the conference floor was given to Brian Debus in a debate on the impact of cuts when he asked why this union was giving millions of pounds to the Labour Party when Labour-led councils were cutting services at a local level.

There was also an audible intake of breath when Jean Thorpe pointed out that Ed Miliband, at the GMB conference, had confirmed that he would not be supporting strike action on 10 July.


Socialists elected to service groups

Five more Socialist Party members have been elected to Unison's service group executives (SGEs), joining six Socialist Party members already on the SGEs.

Mike Forster from Yorkshire and Humberside region and Tim Cutter from South East region joined Angie Waller, Mark Evans and Jane Armitage on the local government executive.

Gary Freeman from East Midlands region and Diane Cawood from the North West join Steve Bell and Adrian O'Malley on the health group executive.

Helen Couchman, from South East region, joins Mal Richardson on the community SGE.

All eleven will fight for Unison to be a fighting democratic union that puts its members before the interests of the Labour Party.


Unison Bureaucracy Unmasked: The Defend the Four Story

In 2007, four trade unionists from different Unison branches were publicly and unjustly accused of racism. Yet all were committed anti-racists and led well-run union branches.

All four are well-known members of the Socialist Party. But this provides only part of the explanation; the bureaucracy was also driven by a desire to make the union safe for its full-time machine, and safe for the Labour Party.

This book tells the story of the ultimately victorious campaign and legal challenge that cleared them of all charges, and which exposed the true nature of Unison's bureaucracy.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 18 June 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Strike back for a living wage

Report shows huge support for taxing rich

Survey shows potential for new mass workers' party

Them & Us

Kshama Sawant to speak at Socialism 2014


International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: Oil war's bloody legacy

Brazil: Upsurge in struggles of workers and homeless


Socialist Party workplace news

How should the RMT maintain Bob Crow's tradition?

Unison local government members want action on pay

Bakers call for 10 minimum wage

Escalation of FBU dispute begins

Lambeth College indefinite strike

Safety Glass workers strike for a real pay rise

Trades council conference: workers won't wait for TUC

Workplace news in brief

Come to the NSSN conference on 5 July


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition campaign reports

Rhydyfelin library saved

Nottinghamshire fire cuts - "pushed to breaking point"

Orgreave 30th anniversary - solidarity and celebration

Birmingham: new Socialist Party branch

Socialist Party Summer Camp 2014


Readers' comments and reviews

"Self-employed" and exploited

Book review: The man who loved dogs

Letters to the Socialist


 

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