Council workers to vote on action

UNISON members in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will vote on strike action to begin in July, while teachers discuss co-ordinated action.

Submitted by Steven. on May 22, 2008

UNISON members were given the green light for a ballot on industrial action after rejecting the pay offer from employers.

The offer is below the current inflation rate of 4.2% and less that the increase in average earnings across the economy.

If members vote Yes to industrial action, that is likely to start with a two-day all-out strike in early July, and be followed by a sustained campaign of escalating action, involving strikes of more than two days.

Asking members to vote for action, the union is making it clear that the employers' offer is final, and "solid and sustained" industrial action will be needed to convince the employers to reopen negotiations.

However, it is widely believed that UNISON's leadership wishes to avoid a strike. One member told us "we'll need a big Yes vote on a high turnout for them not to try to call it off like they did last year."

A source also informs us that teachers are discussing co-inciding their second strike with the proposed stoppage. One local government worker told us "their striking with us would spur us on, so I hope they do."

In Scotland, an 80% rejection result in UNISON’s local government pay consultation is also likely to lead to a campaign and an industrial action ballot.

The offer from the Scottish employers, hasn’t been improved in recent discussions despite recent increases in inflation. It stays at 2.5% each year for three years, with no weighting for the low paid, and no chance to reopen negotiations should inflation continue to increase over that period.

Scotland UNISON’s local government committee stated it will try and build a united campaign for industrial action with the other unions on the Scottish negotiating body - but they kept negotiation separate from the rest of the UK.

UNISON is also proposing to split up local government and school council workers for negotiations, which will further divide and weaken workers.



16 years 2 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Steven. on May 23, 2008

The NUT exec voted against balloting with Unison. The proposed strike is now in the last week of term - Unison school members say this is a terrible time to strike, and the teachers wouldn't go for it, and they didn't think Unison'd go through with it anyway.

With the timetable ballot - deadline June 20 - this only allows for a strike in the last week or two of school, so it seems like the timetable was deliberately set to sabotage the action. Local government workers biggest leverage now is the power to shut schools, so after July that evaporates until Autumn. The teachers' next strike will now likely be proposed around November.