PCS has an existing industrial action mandate but following the decision of our annual delegate conference in Brighton to pursue coordinated action, the union decided to ask our members to vote ‘yes’ in a consultative ballot. In the ballot, which closed today, 73.7% of those who took part backed the campaign.
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. We are also looking to force the government into talks on our pay claim of £1,200 or a 5% pay increase.
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. Our members are facing the tightest living standards squeeze for nearly a century.
The National Executive Committee meets tomorrow (1 July) to discuss next steps. If, as expected, they back a coordinated strike on July 10, we will be taking action alongside the following unions:
The National Union of Teachers
On 19 June, the national executive of the National Union of Teachers met and decided to take action in England and Wales over pay, pensions and heavy workloads.
NUT general secretary, Christine Blower, said: “The government is still failing to make progress on our trade dispute over teachers’ pay, pensions and workload. The talks are still only about the implementation of Government policies, not about the fundamental issues we believe to be detrimental to education and the profession.
“For teachers, performance-related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week, is unsustainable.”
On 23 June, UNISON’s national committee announced that hundreds of thousands of its members in local government and school support staff would join the strike following a yes vote in a ballot for action on pay.
The low-paid, mainly women, workers have faced a 3-year pay freeze and have now been offered a 1% pay rise. The lowest are paid just above the statutory national minimum wage and did not even receive the £250 that chancellor George Osborne promised they would get two years running.
Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “We have a clear majority for strike action so a one day strike will go ahead on 10 July. We expect to be joined in that action by other unions in local government and will be campaigning among our members for maximum support on that day.
“Many of our members are low-paid women earning barely above the minimum wage, who care for our children, our elderly and our vulnerable and they deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this government. The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute.”
On 27 June, GMB announced that their members in local authorities and schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland would take action on 10 July. This followed a ballot of members that saw a 73% vote in favour of going on strike.
GMB national secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “Our members have spoken loud and clear and said they want to go on strike.
“GMB members serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms and in all the other vital roles serving our communities are fed up with being ignored and undervalued.
“Their pay has gone up only 1% since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales. Their case is reasonable, the employers won’t listen and don’t care, no wonder they have turned to strike action as the only way of making their voices heard. With other unions involved too, the 10 July looks like being the second biggest dispute ever with up to 2 million workers on strike.”
Unite the Union
Following a ballot result announced today, Unite’s local government staff will now join up to two million other union members, including council workers and teaching staff, in taking strike action on 10 July against the government public sector austerity pay policies.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “The depth of feeling on the pay issue is reinforced by the fact that local government unions, GMB and Unison, and members of the National Union of Teachers are all taking action on 10 July.
“Poverty pay is widespread across local councils – household bills continue to soar, but our members’ buying power is constantly being eroded. The national minimum wage will soon overtake local government pay scales; members are choosing between heating and eating.
“For too long the council workers have been targeted to bear the brunt of the austerity measures that have been imposed by millionaire cabinet ministers since 2010.
“The aim is to get the employers back around the table to negotiate a fair deal for those who deliver vital local government services, from social care to refuse collection, on a daily basis.”
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