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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 March 2008

Greenwich workers score victory against single status

Greenwich Unison members have voted to accept the council's latest 'single status' proposals. This follows a successful campaign by the trade unions, led by Greenwich Unison, demanding equal pay without pay cuts.

Back in November 2006, the council proposed a series of measures including:

The Unison branch launched an immediate campaign. This included lobbying the council and massive attendances at branch meetings.

But most importantly the branch took a decision to call for a ballot for industrial action. Many members faced pay cuts of over 130 a week. The council's immediate reaction was to threaten to ballot non-union members. They also made it clear that should the new measures not be accepted, the council would impose them.

The Unison campaign ensured all members were involved. Thousands of council workers were kept up to date through mail-outs to home addresses. A key decision was to include stewards from the affected areas in the negotiating teams.

The initial reaction from the trade union full-time officials was to indicate that the original proposals were not too bad.

The branch secretary, Onay Kasab, was threatened with disciplinary action for supporting the decision of the branch to raise the slogan: "Not a single penny from a single member" - not by the council but by the union!

In addition, the branch agreed to make the call for: "Equal pay, not low pay", while demanding: "Not an hour on the day, nor a penny from our pay".

These slogans gained a massive echo amongst the membership.

The prolonged intensive and inclusive campaign, backed up by the threat of strike action, put the union branch in an excellent negotiating position. The council knew that the negotiators had the backing of thousands of workers. Negotiating from a position of strength is what led to the council making massive concessions. The proposals put to the membership in the ballot included:

As a result of the campaign and the 'yes' vote, thousands of low-paid workers in Greenwich will now be compensated and receive better, improved rates of pay.

The Unison branch secretary is a member of the Socialist Party. This victory shows how with the correct tactics and strategy, not only can workers fight off attacks but we can win real victories which lead to real improvements in pay for workers.

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In The Socialist 4 March 2008:

Unite for a living wage

Greenwich workers score victory against single status

Angry civil servants strike over pay


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Thousands protest at threats to hospital

Rewarded for zeal at cuts

Derby health workers


International Women's Day

Fight for a woman's right to choose


Anti-War

DEMONSTRATE

$3 trillion Iraq war

Sheffield activists fight militarism


Environment and socialism

Walthamstow 'RAPpers' against toxic incinerators


Socialist Party news and analysis

Housing association collapses

Meet Brown's new finance expert

Fans blow whistle on Game 39

Campaign to Defeat Fees

Swansea - no sign of Griffin!


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey's invasion destabilising region

Russian election

EU war with super-rich?


Workplace news and analysis

Pensions under attack

Unison witch-hunt: Members bite back

Teachers must reject real pay cuts

Greenwich workers fight attacks

Socialist Party member stands for Unite (T&G) general executive


 

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Related links:

Single status:

triangleDerby TAs to strike against pay cut

triangleTAs force Labour to suspend pay cuts

triangleSingle status appeal: Victory for Vine workers

triangleNo to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

triangleNottingham city council: Shocking new cuts!

Greenwich:

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMcStriker addresses Greenwich trade unionists

triangle'Ana Key MP' - Socialist artist responds to attacks

Pay:

triangleGerman engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

Unison:

triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

triangleUnison national women's conference

Equal pay:

triangleWomen rally defiantly

Council workers:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

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