Sunday, July 13, 2008

Madness over Local Government Pay Offer

UNISON and UNITE Local Government Strike 16-17 July. On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the two biggest unions in the public sector will hold national strikes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over the latest Local Government pay offer.

This is over a below inflation rate offer of only 2.45% being made by the employers. Inflation is up by 4.3%, Food is up 6%, transport 7%, mortgages 8%, electricity and gas 15%. 2.45%? It does not add up. Pay in the private sector is rising by 4%.

Some 600,000 UNISON workers are due to go on strike. Most Town hall services and many schools will be closed.

So the madness continues. In less than two years we will face a general election and the only Political Party that does actually give a damn about public sector workers is trying to gain their support by cutting their pay? Is it only me that thinks this is just stupid? Does anyone think that this offer will really appease the Tory press? Is this really “evidence based government”? Or is this the beginning of the 2nd longest suicide note in history?

Anyway – Good luck to the strikers, despite the fact that my wages are linked to local government NJC terms, my branch was not balloted on strike action. In my employer we have staff on about at least 8 different pay, terms and conditions so it is a bit of nightmare. I think we have sorted this out now so if there is any further action it is likely we will be called out. I will donate my wages for these days to the branch hardship/strike fund.

Also, UNISON Housing association members will join local government members at local picket lines to show solidarity. In London on the Wednesday there well be a demo, so assemble at 1pm at Lincoln Inn Fields, 1.30pm to start March, 2pm –Rally @ Friends Meeting House. Speakers to include: · Keith Sonett, Deputy General Secretary, UNISON, Jack Dromey. Deputy General Secretary, UNITE; · Kevin Courtney Branch Secretary and NUT NEC.

Keep it in the family - I am very proud of my “better half” who informed her headmaster the other week that she will be going on strike for the two days. She is a teacher assistant (on less than £10k per year) in a London primary school where the GMB are the dominant union amongst support staff. She will therefore be the only one in the school on strike despite this being the first year of her service.

My “little big sister” is a self employed gymnastics coach in North Wales and her LEA schools will be closed. While my “little sister” is an assistant social service worker in Lincolnshire who will also be on strike.

Gordon, Alistair, for crying out loud – forget that these people are my family, they are all instinctive Labour Party supporters, but if you pay them rubbish money, how can you get them out to vote for you in 2010?


Anonymous said...

Hi john, yes madness not just 600,000 low paid labour voters plus their wife's, husbands, partners, it's suicide pure suicide it could be 2000.000 voters looking elsewhere.lets show strength and pride....... MR BROWN YOU FOOL

Jon Rogers said...

Indeed John I agree entirely.

If public service workers want fair pay we have to fight for it.

Did you give up on "Plan B" by the way?

John Gray said...

Hi Jon

This is a first! I’m glad you are seeing the light at long last! Actually the vast majority of strikers don’t want to go on strike and would wish that there were other viable ways to try and achieve improvements to pay and conditions. Due largely to the government’s lack of political foresight and nous on this issue, it didn’t happen.

So Strike to win. Until this dispute is over, all talk of Plan B (or C, or D for that matter) is put on hold. This is what you do when you are in the midst of an industrial dispute. I look forward to debating possible different forms of action - once it is over.

Hope the march and Rally went ok. I was not called out on strike, but was going to attend anyway but got struck down with the “dreaded lergie”. Don’t worry, nothing too serious – it’s not the trots!