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Support Liverpool City UNISON branch



Senior managers, with the approval of Liverpool City Council, are carrying out a vicious and relentless attack on the UNISON branch and its members. We are seeking the support of trade unionists and all those who value the existence of the trade union movement.

 Examples of the attacks include:

The suspension of five individuals following the social workers’ strike in Children’s Services and the Emergency Duty Team which ended on 11th January. The strike came about as a result of the employer’s
• refusal to adhere to their own policies and procedures;
• refusal to agree to a workload management system for social workers
• refusal to listen to the professional assessments of their social workers.

Underlying all these issues is a style of management, which relies on intimidation and a climate of fear.
The strike, which lasted almost five months, ended without an effective return to work agreement, which would have protected individuals against such attacks. The suspensions, which relate to activities during the strike, took place on 14th January but to date, almost thirteen weeks later, full details of the allegations have not yet been provided.

The anti-UNISON actions of the City Council are further reinforced by the fact that a number of individuals, who refused to cross legally constituted picket lines at the start of the strike, are currently subject to investigation and disciplinary hearings.

In addition, those people who returned to work, following the strike, are facing various intimidating acts: loss of annual leave entitlement; loss of time off in lieu accrued before the strike; breaches of the Council’s redeployment procedure; breaches of the pay protection policy and the allocation of child protection cases, for which they do not feel they have adequate experience. The actions taken by the employer following the ending of the strike are in clear breach of the ACAS agreement, between UNISON and the employer and have been referred back to ACAS.

The events described above are a clear attempt to punish individuals for taking part in and supporting industrial action, which was the result of a legally constituted ballot. It is an attack on the Union movement as a whole. We believe that the motivation is the desire to have a compliant, cowed workforce, too afraid to question management decisions and to achieve this it is necessary to crush all union activity.

The recent UNISON advertisement, filmed in Liverpool, gives the message that each UNISON member has the strength of the 1.3 million members behind them. The five suspended people and the rest of the membership of our branch need to feel that strength and hopefully that of an even wider movement around them now.

Please support our campaign by writing by post or email to Chief Executive, David Henshaw, email: david.henshaw@liverpool.gov.uk and Leader of the Council, Mike Storey, email: mike.storey@liverpool.gov.uk at Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool. The response of the Council, to previous letters of protest and support, has been to issue bland, inaccurate statements about good staff relations, improved services and the City Council’s duty to investigate allegations made against individuals. If you would like any further accurate information about the situation in Liverpool please contact the branch office: liverpoolunison@btconnect.com.

 

April 2005

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