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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2009

Glasgow council street cleaners start workers' fightback

IN A bid to make further budget savings, Glasgow city council continues its assault on workers' conditions of employment. The latest group of employees under attack are the 1,200 street cleaners, parks staff and road workers.

Ian Leech, Glasgow City Unison steward

The council plans would scrap the current five-day working week and place all staff on a rota system of four days on and four days off. According to the council, there will be longer working days but fewer days worked over a year to try to save 5 million and increase the level of service to the public.

In preparation for imposing the new conditions, the council sent out redundancy notices and letters to all staff organised in three unions - GMB, Unison and Unite, saying their contracts were terminated and offering new contracts on the new conditions. The council's message was 'if you do not sign the new contract you should consider yourself sacked'!

At a packed meeting in May the union members' anger spilled over. They accused their leaderships of being slow to react to the council's threat and demanded to know why their union continues to pay money to the Labour Party in return for being kicked in the teeth!

The members view the attack on the five-day working week as contradicting the council's commitment to 'work/ life balance' and it will affect time spent with families. The negotiating team reported that, in response to a threat of industrial action, the council officers said 'bring it on'. Angry workers agreed with one contribution which declared "If they want a fight, let's give them one!"

A ballot of the union branches involved has returned a majority for an all-out strike. First into action will be the street cleansing teams but the action could quickly spread to other environmental workers who, although not yet balloted, have indicated that they will refuse to cross any picket lines and will therefore be 'picketed out'.

News of this has drawn comments about a return to the 1970s types of strike tactics. Glasgow council has already indicated it may try to use 'scab labour' in the form of outside contractors to undermine the action.

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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.

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In The Socialist 10 June 2009:

Step up the fight for a new workers' party

A socialist MEP Joe Higgins elected in Ireland

'The best fighter that money can't buy'

STOP PRESS: BNP feel the anger

Youth Fight against Racism


Socialist Party election campaign analysis

No2EU: a step towards a workers' political voice


Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Rob Williams now! Support Linamar strikers

London Underground: Solidarity with strike over jobs and pay

Glasgow council street cleaners start workers' fightback

Bristol bins strike threat brings new conditions offer

Unison NEC elections bring gains for Socialist Party

Another DWP minister resigns

Engineering construction workers ballot: End 'race to the bottom'

Come to NSSN conference

News in brief


Socialist Party publication

The Masses Arise: The French revolution and today's struggles


International socialist news and analysis

European parliament elections 2009: Europe on the edge

General strike in Basque country

Brazil: "Liberty, Socialism and Revolution" is born


Youth fight for jobs

CWU conference backs Youth Fight for Jobs campaign

No to cuts at Kings

Liverpool Community College strike


 

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Cleaners:

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triangleISS workers' pay victory

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triangleGlasgow: Socialist Party Scotland public meeting

triangleStriking workers defy the race to the bottom at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports

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