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Archive article from The Socialist Issue 394

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Home   |   The Socialist 26 May - 1 June 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Coventry council - no to the 'single status' deal

No pay cuts!

COVENTRY COUNCIL workers are fighting a pay-cutting deal being imposed under the 'single status' agreement. Single status is supposed to bring pay parity in local government, across all grades but it is being used by many councils as an excuse to drive wages down.
The Socialist Party in Coventry and its two councillors, Karen McKay and Dave Nellist, have called for no losers in any deal. We have been the only party to oppose it inside and outside the council chamber.
At the strike rally on 19 May, New Labour leader John Mutton was heckled with workers shouting: "You didn't vote for your council expenses to be cut, did you?".
Over 4.500 workers were on strike on 19 May and on 24 and 25 May.
UNISON steward Nick John, reports what happened, in a personal capacity.

After the 19 May strike, management were desperate to score a propaganda victory. They put around that bin workers would be doing overtime over the weekend to clear the backlog. In fact they were intending to bring in agency workers, ie scab labour.

Socialist Party members, including Dave Nellist, were on the TGWU and UNISON picket from 5am on Saturday. Cars and pedestrians were stopped and some were turned away when they realised there was a picket line. Others crossed but only to register with the agency and drive back out.

Some did cross and the battle moved to preventing the wagons leaving. It was gone 8am and the wagons should have left over an hour previously. Various health and safety issues were raised by the union officials which further delayed the departure.

We were overjoyed when the first driver agreed to back his lorry up and refused to cross. This was followed by the next three. Four-nil and more exciting than the cup final!

The next driver could not be persuaded and to a chorus of abuse he was on his way. Another five followed so we can only presume they upped the money! It was now gone 9.30am. Sunday was an even more resounding victory as only three wagons left the depot.

The bin workers were well supported on both days by shop stewards from other sections of the council, as well as full-time union officials and members of the Socialist Party. A UNISON stewards' meeting also thanked the Socialist Party for its support, particularly for helping with the early stages of the picket on strike day."

Coventry is the first city to strike over single status but there is a clear need for a nationally co-ordinated response from the trade union leaders. The pay cuts in Coventry will be repeated elsewhere unless a national fight-back is organised.

We have put out a leaflet calling for special national conferences of local authority unions to begin this.

bashes low-paid workers council - no to the 'single status' deal

rights under attack

Striking back at job cuts

the fat cats out of football


Home   |   The Socialist 26 May - 1 June 2005  |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop

In this issue

Brown bashes low-paid workers

Our rights under attack

BBC workers striking back at job cuts

Kick the fat cats out of football

G8 Protest - Demonstrate at the G8 - Make capitalism history

Germany - workers punish Schröder

Northern Ireland - fighting for socialism

Telecom workers' strike against privatisation

Left victory in PCS union

Defend NATFHE members, safeguard union democracy


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January 2019