Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/498/3026
Local government pay dispute - no to 2%!
IN MARCH 2007 Gordon Brown announced that he was capping public-sector pay awards at 2%. With inflation running at over 4% this is essentially a pay cut in real terms.
Marc Glasscoe, Lincoln City UNISON, personal capacity
At the same time he cut corporation tax by 2%, allowing big business to rake in even greater profits. By holding down their wages, the government is effectively punishing public-sector workers for the state of the economy. We are being treated as if we are responsible for inflation, rather than its victims.
Having already rejected it, UNISON has decided to consult their members on whether or not they are prepared to accept an 'offer' of a 2% pay increase. Despite the ridiculousness of consulting on something you have already rejected, our UNISON branch decided to conduct a full consultative ballot of our members, posing the simple question: are you prepared to accept a pay offer of a 2% salary increase?
With 36% of our members taking the time to come and cast their vote, we had a better turnout than in the local elections in May. And the message from the ballot box was loud and clear: 2%? - no way!
Over 97% of those who voted gave a resounding 'No' to the proposal of a below-inflation pay offer. Thanks to strong campaigning, a clear and positive attitude and an ability to explain the issues our leading activists convinced union members to use their vote and send a message to the union leadership. We want a decent pay offer and we are prepared to fight for it!
After prevaricating at UNISON conference in June the leadership now have a clear mandate to take the fight to the government. Our members deserve decent pay and they demand a clear lead from the tops of the union.
With 97% of those who voted prepared to take a stand against this pathetic offer in Lincoln alone, they have no excuse for any further delays. Name the day and we will be ready. But failing to take a clear lead on this issue and constantly delaying as they did over the pensions dispute, will only come back to haunt them. It is time to take this fight to the government. Don't back down until we have got what we deserve.
In The Socialist 9 August 2007:
Committee for a Workers' International
Socialist Party events
Environment and socialism
Tales from the council chambers