by Tom Walker
The Tories want to break the Unison union at Plymouth council—but workers say they won’t let them get away with it.
Bosses derecognised Unison last week after the union refused to sign up to job and pay cuts.
Unison branch secretary Darren Turner said, “Unison’s position is, and always will be, to defend and improve the pay and conditions of our members.
“They do not join because they want us to sign away hard-earned benefits at the first sign of pressure from the employer.”
The bosses want to force out the union so that they can push through new contracts.
The Unite and GMB unions at the council have made a formal protest over the derecognition.
“Selective derecognition threatens the future of collective bargaining across the country,” Unison branch chair Jeremy Guise told Socialist Worker.
“If the employers are allowed to get away with this kind of divide-and-rule there will be a significant weakening of trade union power and influence in all multi-union workplaces.
“That’s why we have to come together to fight it.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the union “will not be pressured into signing an agreement that discriminates against some groups of staff”.
The council withdrew all facility time for Unison branch officials and kicked them out of their union offices.
But the union’s members are keeping up the fight.
On Wednesday Unison members will hold a union general meeting to consider a ballot for industrial action.
This must be turned into a reality. Activists must go all-out to win support for action across all three council unions.
Workers were set to join a solidarity rally outside the council’s offices on the same day, called by Plymouth trades council.
There was also to be a public solidarity meeting that evening.
Tony Staunton, secretary of the trades council and chair of the council Unite branch, said the derecognition fight is “of national significance”.
“We’re calling for full support for the Unison branch,” he added.
The branch has been flooded with messages of support from other unions.
PCS civil service workers’ union general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “PCS and, I’m sure, the whole labour movement is 100 percent behind Unison members in Plymouth as they fight to win back their union rights.”
Article from Socialist Worker 27th August 2011