Bron Afon picket line, photo Dave Reid

Bron Afon picket line, photo Dave Reid   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Support workers at Bron Afon Community Housing in Cwmbran, south Wales, have begun their second five-day strike in as many weeks, as the Unison members escalate their action to send a message to management that £3,000 pay cuts will not be accepted lying down.

Strikers have been boosted by visitors from other trade unions and trade union councils, and by messages of support from service users – one who said she “owed her life” to the workers.

Jeremy Corbyn too has urged management to “direct all their energy” to resolve the dispute. Some of the strikers were so moved by all the support they were weeping!

One worker told the Socialist: “The pay cuts are bad enough, but they also want to take us out of collective bargaining and give us spot salaries, so we’re no longer entitled to any incremental pay increases. It’s obvious to us, and increasingly obvious to the rest of the staff, that Bron Afon plans to do the same to other workers if they get away with it.”

No doubt other third-sector organisations will jump on the bandwagon if it appears to be picking up momentum. That’s why broadening the action makes sense. Bringing more workers out on strike would terrify management.

But although Bron Afon is a severe case of cuts to workers’ living standards, its far from the only one. If other outsourced and council workers were inspired to follow the lead shown by those at Bron Afon, a movement could be built to end the relentless driving down of our pay and living standards.

Fight together to scrap the Tory pay cap!

National Shop Stewards Network rally at TUC congress

Sunday 10 September at 1pm, Arundel Suite, Holiday Inn, 137 King’s Road, Brighton BN1 2JP – all welcome

Speakers: John McDonnell, shadow chancellor; Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary; Len Hockey, Unite Barts NHS Trust branch secretary; Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary; Steve Gillan, POA general secretary; Ronnie Draper, BFAWU general secretary; Sean Hoyle, RMT president and Amy Murphy, Usdaw southern division EC member. Chaired by Janice Godrich, PCS president