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31st March 2006

 

ALL-OUT STRIKE ACTION ON TUESDAY 28TH MARCH – UPDATE

What a great day of action on 28th March!  Locally, to our knowledge, there were 21 schools, 2 libraries and one sports centre shut, and many sections minimally staffed.

 

We had picket lines at Taberner House, Strand House, Stubbs Mead Depot and (at the last minute) Croydon College, and 20 or so Croydon UNISON members attended the rally in Central London (see below).

 

Pickets outside Taberner House

Picture courtesy of Croydon Guardian

 

Other unions gave fantastic support.  The local branch of NUT (who had 25 members at Leon House covered by the LGPS taking the action) joined the picket line at Taberner and donated £500 to our Industrial Action Fund.  We were also joined by activists from PCS (the Civil Service Union), including their General Secretary Mark Sewotka, and NATFHE (who gave us individual donations).

 

Allen Reilly, Secretary of UNISON SW London Health Branch also stood with us the whole time we were picketing.

 

All across the Country, there was massive disruption and there were marches and rallies in many cities.   Here in London, despite the fact that there was a call from many branches for a march, we only had a rally.  However it was an uplifting event in Westminster Central Hall, with stirring speeches from a number of Trade Union leaders (including Dave Prentis who made the opening address) and Frank Dobson MP.  The speakers emphasised the vital jobs that Local Government workers carry out, the low level of pension that the average member in the LGPS receives, the hypocrisy of the big bosses and MP’s who say that our pensions are too expensive, and that when comparisons are made between our pensions and others that aren’t so beneficial the call should be for a levelling up, not a levelling down.

 

We now need to prepare for further action.  Despite returning to the negotiating table on Wednesday (the day after the strike) the Government has acted provocatively by laying an order before Parliament to change the regulations in October.  They say they’re still prepared to consider amending these in the light of further negotiations, but they have until the summer recess to lay the order, so why do it now?

 

Our answer must be to stiffen our resolve and escalate our action.

 

Next week 1000 Meat Hygiene workers across the Country will take strike action from midnight on Sunday 2nd to midnight on Friday 7th April.  There will then be a rolling programme of one day strikes from 25th April to 27th April.  All members covered by the Local Government Pension Scheme in London will be instructed to strike on Tuesday 25th April.

 

There will be further action in May.  Details to be released later.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO……..

·      Prepare for strike action and encourage all your colleagues who are union members to do so.

·      Organise a picket line at your workplace – contact the Branch Office for advice, placards etc on 020 8760 5435 or at branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk

·      Complete and return (to the Branch Office) the Branch Levy Form, to help pay for selective strike action taken by specific groups of members in the future.

·      Let us know how many people are going to strike in your workplace.

 

EXEMPTIONS

 

Please be absolutely clear – we only agree to exemptions for life and limb cover.  This means the minimum number of individuals necessary to provide essential services.  We don’t give blanket exemptions for any service, so the fact that you work in an essential services doesn’t necessarily mean that you are exempt.

 

PROTECT WHAT IS

RIGHTFULLY YOURS!