The motion was proposed by our TULO Officer Kim Silver (who will be out on strike herself) and seconded by myself as an UNISON Housing Association delegate.
This Executive Committee of West Ham Labour Party notes:
1.On Thursday 10 July there will be National Strike Action by UNISON and other council, teaching and civil service trade unions. Council staff have suffered eight successive years of pay freezes and pay cuts. Cleaners, caretakers and customer service officers are not ‘Town Hall fat cats’. While a tiny proportion of employees are well paid chief officers, more than 500,000 earn less than the living wage. One million people earn less than £21,000 per year.
2.The average council worker has seen a near 20% cut in basic pay since the coalition government took power in 2010. In real terms they are about a 5th poorer than they were in 2009. This means they have to buy food, housing, transport and warmth for themselves and their families on 20% less pay than in the past. No wonder Unison’s welfare charity is overrun with pleas for help by families’ dependent on pay day loans and food banks to exist.
3.Private sector and many public sector workers pay is not directly affected by these disputes. However we believe this is their fight as well. This is not only due to traditional Labour movement solidarity, but most workers have also endured years of upfront pay cuts, wage freezes or below inflation pay ‘rises’.
5.We are living in a world where a small number of very wealthy people are doing fine while the majority are suffering declining living standards or even abject poverty. What sort of society are we becoming? When and how will it end? Isn’t it about time we did something about it?
6.This strike matters to all of us because we need to make low pay and our cost of living crisis a key political issue in the run up to the general election next year. When Labour wins the election it has got to re-balance our domestic economy and start putting money into the pockets and purses of the low paid and those on average earnings. Private sector and public sector. This will need a fairer and more progressive taxation system and the political will to bring it about.
7.While council staff are fighting an industrial battle with their employers and the government for a better pay offer, effective, well targeted and publicised strike action can also help make a wider political point.West Ham Labour Party Executive Committee resolves:-
1.To support UNISON and trade union comrades taking action on 10 July
2. Urge members to show solidarity outside the Picket line at East Ham Town Hall from 8am on Thursday
3. Send our CLP banner to show our support.