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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2009

Unison needs a fighting leadership: Leeds City Council

Most Leeds city council workers learned with alarm about the council's intention to impose job cuts and erode our conditions of service from 1 April in a letter and through local news channels in February. This was without any agreement with the trade unions, so all the trade unions involved, Unison, GMB, Unite and Ucatt, have formally lodged a dispute.

The council intend to cut 650 jobs through 'natural wastage'. This will mean less staff, more work, more pressure, and more stress, and consequently our services will suffer.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If we don't strike to successfully resist these job losses and attacks on our working conditions, our wages, pensions and conditions will be further undermined.

These attacks come at a time when the unions have been seen at their weakest.

Unison convenor, NEC, and Service Group Executive member, John McDermott has recently been sacked by his employer, East North East Homes, an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), for representing and supporting members. Despite Unison members lobbying Leeds council, they refused to intervene.

It is widely known that Unison's Leeds local government branch has been in under special regional supervision, hampering its ability to campaign, as it has been seen as a left-led branch.

At the same time, the local government unions have not acted in unity over single status, pensions and more recently on the national pay claim.

I know my members are angry. They are angry at losing out over the Single Status Agreement, and that our efforts to strike over the government's derisory national pay award were dampened by the national leadership's unilateral decision to take our pay claim to arbitration.

Our Unison branch is conducting an indicative ballot to see if members are prepared to stand up to defend jobs, to defend services, and defend our trade union rights. I'll be encouraging my members to vote 'yes' for strike action and to vote for candidates committed to transforming Unison into a fighting, democratic union in the coming NEC elections.

A Unison steward

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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.
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  • 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 1 April 2009:

The G20 leaders have no solution to the crisis...

Fight for a future!

Youth Fight for Jobs conference

Why I'm marching

The grim reality of job-hunting


G20 protests

G20 Summit: Capitalism facing 'make or break'

Free market system killing our planet

UEL clampdown

Bail out workers, not Wall Street!


Socialist Party workplace news

Visteon workers occupy Belfast factory

Construction workers' protests continue

Socialist stands in Aslef leadership elections

College teachers strike in Eastbourne

Unison needs a fighting leadership: Leeds City Council

Whipps Cross Hospital

Unison elections


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Economic crisis turning into political action


Socialist Party election campaign

No2EU - Yes to Democracy

Dave Nellist on the Politics Show


Socialist Party campaigns

Poor hit by price rises

No to privatised polyclinics

Gordon Brown meets the bankers

Sack the bankers not the workers!

Fast News


International socialist news and analysis

Now that the profits are drying up in the Indian software industry

Sweden: Socialist councillor viciously assaulted by Nazis


 

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