Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/319/9707
United Action To End Low Pay
- Unite the action for a living wage across the whole London public-sector workforce.
- For a minimum allowance of £4,000 for all London public-sector workers.
- For a one-day London-wide public-sector strike.
MANY PEOPLE in my workplace were surprised that there was such a big majority (80%) for strike action over London weighting. Some in my UNISON branch thought that fatigue might have set in - after all we had the first strike ballot in May 2002.
The ballot was before the Post Office one, so that didn't affect the result.
The reason the vote was such a resounding 'yes' is that London is so expensive, especially for public sector workers. Many just cannot afford to live.
Average house prices in London are over £200,000. Londoners' rents are 74% higher than the rest of the country. And the proportion of salaries spent on housing in London is on average triple that for the rest of the country.
A typical nursery place in London is £135 per week compared to £100 in the west midlands and £97 in the north west. It's £5 a journey to travel in and out of central London and now we have congestion charges.
People are really inspired that we're going out with the Post Office. The London weighting issue seemed to be fading away and all of a sudden it's come back again.
Sometimes we feel that we have our backs against the wall, fighting all the attacks and sell-offs but now the union is prepared to lead us in having a go back for a change.
Escalate the action
PEOPLE HAVE welcomed the idea of striking with the council workers. We're fighting the same battle so we should strike together.
The only thing is one-day strikes aren't long enough to be properly effective.
We need to be out for longer to achieve the maximum effect and to make sure we win, we don't want the dispute dragging on and fizzling out.
A London postal worker
In The Socialist 18 October 2003:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis