Wednesday, April 02, 2008

2.45%? No Thanks!

Here is the bad – but hardly unexpected – news from the UNISON website;

“Local government employers returned to the negotiating table today with a pay offer that would leave the lowest paid workers less well off than supermarket staff.The rise being offered is 2.45%, with £100 extra for those on the bottom three points on the pay scale – up on the initial 2.2% rejected by trade unions but still branded “hugely disappointing” by UNISON national secretary Heather Wakefield.”

The key point is surely that this offer falls well below the rate of increase of the Retail Price Index. Therefore if we cannot improve upon it we will face a further reduction in our standard of living.

The evidence of the past is that national strike action by local government workers can improve our pay relative to other sectors of the economy. This year we have an unprecedented opportunity for unity with other public service workers.

Decent pay for public service workers could be key to a progressive economic policy to respond to the threat of recession by boosting purchasing power in the economy.

However, as there is no indication that the Government are thinking along these lines we need a robust political and industrial campaign to defend the interests of our members.

We need a strike ballot to commence very urgently (if we have to have a consultative ballot first to comply with Service Group Conference policy then that should start before the end of next week and conclude before the end of the month – I think the NJC Committee and SGE need to think long and hard about whether, in the light of last year’s result, we really need a consultative ballot at all).

We also need to move faster than the TUC to take our case to Parliament, acting in concert with as many other public service workers as we can – as part of a continuing public relations campaign to win the hearts and minds of the millions of working people whose support we can win for a struggle for fair pay for public servants.

We should start with a campaign to get the trade union linked MPs to support our pay claim – and oppose the Government’s 2% pay limit – and with as much organised support as we can deliver for the public sector strike action already planned for April 24th.

No comments: