Coalition ministers have been summoned to a crisis meeting before one of Britain’s biggest ever strikes next month. Around 1.5 million refuse collectors, social workers, town planners, librarians, care home staff and other local government employees are expected to walk out of work for 24 hours on 10 July.
They are infuriated by a pay offer that will result in workers on a salary of £14,000 and above being given only a 1 per cent increase, while those at lower grades will be paid little more than the minimum wage. The industrial action is likely to be supported by up to 500,000 teachers and civil servants.
Unite and Unison are currently balloting their members, who are expected to vote for the strike having already rejected the pay offer. The third main union involved, the GMB, last week notified the Local Government Association (LGA) that it is about to hold a similar ballot.
It argues that typical local government workers have seen their real pay reduced by 20 per cent since the coalition came to power, as increases have fallen far behind inflation. Union sources also said that negotiations were “very hard” as the LGA had “failed to engage properly”.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said last night, “I know how angry our members are at feeling the worth of their pay plummet over recent years. Many have to rely on benefits, food banks or resort to payday loans to make ends meet. This cannot go on. Pay freezes and squeezes are not sustainable as this Government will soon find out.” As rises have been restricted in recent years, so the minimum wage has started to catch up with that of the lowest-paid council workers.
(Source: The Independent)
Even though strike action in the UK has been legislated against since the days of the Thatcher government, hundreds of thousands of people have felt the need to take industrial action in protest at the government’s draconian and grossly unfair ‘austerity measures’.
From civil servants, university lecturers, NHS staff, and so on, people have felt the need to protest more than at any other time in recent history. People are clearly telling the government that ‘enough is enough’ as they see the poorer in society get poorer and the rich get much richer as a result of prejudiced government policies.
Any reasonable government would ensure that any measure needed to control a country’s finances were fair across the whole spectrum of the population. No the current coalition government.
Cameron’s response to the growing discontentment is to announce that he will bring in tougher legislation to curb strike action if his party is elected at the next general election – unbelievable!
According to the Daily Mail, Cameron said he had been held back from introducing a threshold of this type since he took office in 2010 because of opposition from Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government.
Well – there may be a good reason why there have been objections to Cameron’s idiotic policy. Like many other policies, this would do nothing more than take more power away from workers to have some control over their working conditions and not fall into total slavery.
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, responded: ‘If 50 per cent of those eligible to vote becomes the new test of democratic legitimacy, not a single MP including Mr Cameron passes the test.
‘Few would argue that the outcome of a general election is a lot more important than the result of any strike ballot. We cannot have abstentions added to no votes to count as a no vote in a strike ballot and totally ignored in the more important ballot vote to elect our Parliament.
‘Workers’ rights are already severely constrained and curtailing the right to strike even more is simply neither acceptable nor democratic.’
Another fine example of how out of touch with reality Cameron and his cronies are.
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