Hull UNISON takes historic step

“NEVER AGAIN will social-worker UNISON members in Hull be run by the council’s personnel department.” As I said these words, spontaneous applause broke out as a 100-strong meeting of childcare workers realised they had made a historic decision.

Rob Rooney, Hull Socialist Party

For the first time in the ten-year life of Hull City UNISON, negotiations are in the hands of elected members, rather than people appointed by the council who report to the head of personnel.

Since January, when £25 million budget cuts were announced, anger has been mounting among the workforce at the lack of any fight from UNISON, the biggest of the council unions, with 5,000 members.

An eight-point action plan, proposing total opposition to massive cuts, was drawn up by 25 childcare workers on 3 May. Back in the workplaces, many other social workers, admin workers, family support workers, contact officers and residential workers signed up to it.

Facing a vote of no confidence, the two self-appointed “negotiators” fled the scene, leaving the way clear for the historic vote on 25 May, which unanimously elected a four-strong negotiating team.

Armed with a coherent plan of action and mass backing, we will now see how management react to what is a unique situation for them. Our task is to ensure this outbreak of democracy and accountability spreads throughout the UNISON branch and that opposition to the cuts comes from all quarters.