On 23 July Coventry UNISON branch held a national rally in response to the council’s plans to implement pay cuts of up to £6000 per year in the name of “Single Status” — equal pay and conditions for women.
UNISON has attacked Coventry’s Tory council for funding wage increases for some workers with cutbacks on others’ pay, rather than lobbying central government for more money. Indeed, the execution of the Single Status plan is so flawed that the majority of workers losing out from the scheme will be women. For example, traditionally female-dominated jobs like secretaries face pay cuts of 26%, while cleaners’ pay will be reduced by 22% (just currently £4,009 per year).
Although attendance at the rally was disappointing, it did bring together UNISON members from across the country to discuss a dispute which is bound to affect workers in other parts of Britain as well as in Coventry. Speakers told of the importance of these workers joining together in the fight against cuts. The rally also initiated the building of a strike fund, which is vital for a campaign which has already seen three days of strike action.