Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/534/4148
Public-sector workers say pay up!
Workers' anger at Gordon Brown's attempts to force down public-sector pay is growing.
Unison are balloting 900,000 local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for strike action over pay, after a below-inflation offer was rejected in a consultative ballot. Forced to reflect the anger of Unison members, the union leadership is calling for a 'yes' vote for "solid and sustained" industrial action, starting with a two-day strike in July.
In Scotland, a joint union local government conference has been called for 29 May to discuss coordinated action over pay. Builders' union UCATT members working in local government in Scotland have already voted by 68% to 32% to strike.
Unite is balloting 70,000 local government workers, after they rejected a 2.45% pay offer. Unite have also announced that 12,000 of their members in the health service have rejected a three-year pay deal. A Unison ballot on the same issue ends on 6 June.
Many sections of the PCS civil service union are taking action over pay, following the successful 24-hour strike on 24 April. In the last few days, workers at Ofsted have been on strike and National Science Museum staff are being balloted for action.
Even members of the Police Federation have voted overwhelmingly to lobby for the right to strike, after their last pay deal was reduced by being paid in stages in England and Wales. An informal survey of police in Northern Ireland has come up with a similar result.
It is clear public-sector workers cannot take any more pay cuts and they are prepared to fight for a decent wage.
What is needed is more co-ordinated strike action, involving all public-sector unions. Government ministers, health service and local government leaders have been allowed to get away too long with paying themselves a handsome wage, whilst cutting pay, jobs and services.
In The Socialist 21 May 2008:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Environment: Nuclear power
France 1968 - month of revolution
International socialist news and analysis