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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 October 2017

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

Unite contingent leads, TUC demo, 18.10.14, photo JB

Unite contingent leads, TUC demo, 18.10.14, photo JB   (Click to enlarge)

A Unite national meeting for delegates representing workers in local government unanimously voted for a motion proposed by Socialist Party member Danny Hoggan from Greenwich calling on the union to ballot all members in local government on taking industrial action to achieve a 5% pay claim.

Local government trade unions have lodged a national claim for 5% - but so far have done nothing effective to win it. Instead, nationally all is on hold awaiting a response from the employers.

There are, of course, individual exceptions, such as the magnificent bin workers in Birmingham. In London, the region is running a campaign with the aim of coordinating action among members working for the huge number of contractors who now run council services.

The campaign involves lodging a mirror 5% claim with employers such as Greenwich Leisure Limited and others. Workers employed by OCS/Babcock to clean schools under a Hackney council contract have already agreed to ballot for strike action after the employer refused to consider the claim.

What this shows is just how easy it really is to coordinate a campaign across different employers and different sectors. The motion highlighted how the Tories are trying to divide workers by offering pay rises to the emergency services while still attacking workers in local government. This makes a joint campaign all the more vital.

The majority of Labour Party councillors have been silent on the issue. Ending the pay cap would need to be fully resourced and not paid for by cuts to jobs and services. A resolution to be heard at Greenwich council is calling on the chancellor to provide adequate funding, but apart from sending a letter, proposes no further action!

Replicate

At the local government meeting, the example of the CWU gaining a strong majority on a high turnout for industrial action did not go unnoticed by delegates. The work being undertaken by the PCS, which is holding a consultative ballot over the pay cap, can be replicated across the public sector unions.

The TUC rally in central London on 17 October, while welcome, isn't enough - a national weekend demonstration combined with coordinated strike action across the public sector is the way to really break the pay cap. It is also welcome that Len McCluskey has stated that Unite would support strike action even if it doesn't meet the threshold set by the draconian Trade Union Act.

In Greenwich, Unite is lobbying the full council meeting on 18 October to send a message to the Labour-dominated council. This should be replicated up and down the country.

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

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In The Socialist 18 October 2017:


What we think

Tories torn - bin them now


Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Young people being strangled by debts

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

What we saw


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


October revolution 1917

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

October 1917 centenary pull-out and poster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Uprising to save the NHS!

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


International socialist news and analysis

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


 

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