Liverpool council workers ballot for action

LIVERPOOL SOCIAL workers, members of UNISON, have been on strike for
three months now. Their employer has taken a hard line with the social
workers and is now making threats to the general branch membership.

The council has told the branch that it wants to pull out of the
national scheme of conditions of service.

It would be unprecedented if an authority the size of Liverpool
decided to go in that direction. It would threaten the remainder of the
national agreement because it would encourage other councils to do the

The UNISON branch committee went to the membership on 22 November.

On the issue of the social workers’ dispute and in the light of the
threats to the membership generally, they recommended a ballot for
industrial action, up to and including strike action.

Roger Bannister, from UNISON’s national executive, was invited
to speak at the two members’ meetings. These meetings were well-attended
by hundreds of council staff.

Roger explained the seriousness of what the branch was facing. If the
employers pulled out of the national agreement it would mean their pay
and conditions of service would gradually fall behind the rest of local

This has already happened to groups of workers who have been removed
from the national scheme, like Connexions workers and further education
staff. He argued that the authority was being very aggressive and would
only respond to a show of unity and determination by the workforce.

The council had be shown that the workers were not a pushover, that
they wouldn’t let the social workers be kicked to death on their own in
the corner. And that the branch is prepared to stand up and fight to
defend its place within the national agreement.

That got a good response and all the speakers from the floor
supported the branch committee’s position.

Socialist Party member Raph Parkinson chaired the meetings.
The votes were overwhelmingly in favour of the branch committee’s
recommendation to ballot for industrial action.

There was no doubt in people’s minds that they had to stand and

Roger Bannister is seeking nominations from branches to stand in the forthcoming UNISON general secretary election.

Every socialist in UNISON should try to get their branch to nominate Roger. Roger is a member of Knowsley branch, membership number: 1318436