Unions Go For One-Day General Strike!

UCU lecturers ‘Fair pay in FE’ lobby during their pay talks last month
UCU lecturers ‘Fair pay in FE’ lobby during their pay talks last month

THE PCS trade union is having a consultative ballot asking members to back its ‘We all need a pay rise campaign.’

This calls for a concerted campaign of joint action with other public sector unions, starting with a one-day strike on 10 July.

Action is aimed at breaking the pay freeze, and winning a fair settlement on pay, jobs, pensions, outsourcing, and terms and conditions such as performance management.

PCS members are facing the tightest living standards squeeze for nearly a century so we are asking them to take action over pay.

Across the UK pay cuts have damaged the economy and caused real hardship for millions of people.

If pay had kept pace with inflation, average civil service pay would be £2,300 higher than it is now. But the government has announced that the pay cap will continue in 2014 and 2015 and possibly beyond.

The PCS has submitted a pay claim which seeks a £1,200 or 5% pay increase to the Cabinet Office.

About 1.5 million local government employees could walk out of work for 24 hours on 10 July, supported by up to 500,000 civil servants and teachers.

Unite has begun balloting its local government members while Unison is also currently balloting its members. The GMB has notified the Local Government Association (LGA) that it is to hold a similar ballot.

The unions demanded that the LGA pay all workers an extra £1 an hour, saying typical local government workers have seen their pay reduced by 20% in real terms since the coalition came to power in 2010.

The national executive of the National Union of Teachers decided in May against taking action during the week of 23 June to allow time to see if progress is possible in the talks with government. If there is no progress they will be taking action on 10 July.

The union says: ‘We have sought central talks on our claim. We must force the government to end the pay cap, to succeed. We have an existing industrial action mandate but our annual delegate conference in Brighton last month agreed to ask our members to vote “yes” in the consultative ballot on our national campaign.

‘The campaign includes a co-ordinated one-day strike on 10 July with other public sector workers and setting up a fighting fund to support targeted action.’

Meanwhile, The Liberal Democrats accused Conservative ministers of ‘pandering to the right’ by ‘vindictively attack trade unions’.

The LibDems have revealed that Francis Maude, Eric Pickles and other Tory ministers are trying to end the process of ‘check off’ where trade union subscriptions are paid automatically from Whitehall staff salaries.

Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has already tried to end check-off in his department but lost a court case that insiders said cost the government more money than the moves would ever save.