HUNDREDS of thousands of public sector workers are striking in defence of their pensions on Thursday May 10th.
The strike comes the day after the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, 9th May, which is set to contain the Tory-LibDem Coalition’s parliamentary bill for smashing up the pensions of millions of public sector workers – forcing them to pay more, work longer and receive less.
Up to 100,000 Unite NHS members, including health visitors, pharmacists and paramedics, will join other public sector unions in the action.
Unite national officer for health, Rachael Maskell, said: ‘The government is picking the pockets of health workers by an average of £30 a month in order to pay for pension changes which will see people having to work longer to get less.
‘This disgraceful attack comes against a backdrop of pay freezes and the threat of regional pay in the public sector. In the face of continued attacks, health workers will be stepping up their campaign and looking to join other public sector workers in taking action on 10th May.’
The National Executive of the Public and Commercial Services union announced on Tuesday that it has unanimously agreed to ‘kickstart a programme of ongoing action over pensions with a national strike with other unions on Thursday 10th May, followed by another at the end of June’.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘The ongoing programme of industrial action with other unions we have agreed sends a clear message to government ministers that we do not accept their unnecessary plans to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement.
‘The government must talk to us with the genuine aim of reaching a settlement but if it refuses, we will press ahead with strikes and protests the length and breadth of the country in the coming weeks and months.
‘And we will continue to show that there is an alternative to this government’s cruel and unfair cuts that clearly are not working.’
A PCS officer told News Line that taking strike action on May 10th were ‘PCS, Unite, probably the ucu, definitely nipsa (Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance), and maybe Scottish and Welsh teachers unions as well’.
News Line asked an officer from the UCU university and college lecturers union whether it would be joining the action. He said: ‘Our NEC is meeting next week and action on the 10th will be discussed.
‘Our policy is to oppose the government’s pensions changes and we wouldn’t need to reballot to join the strike.’