Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Public sector workers need unity

Mixed news today on public sector pay – UNISON members in Scottish Water have voted to strike against a 2.4% offer, and UNITE members in the Health Service throughout the UK have voted to strike against the three year pay deal which the other unions are trying to reopen from the second year onwards.

However, UNISON members in Scottish local government have voted – narrowly – to accept their employers’ two year offer. This may reflect some of the reservations about striking for pay in the current economic climate which appeared to influence the closeness of the recent strike ballot in the NUT.

Against this mixed backdrop I have read criticisms of the decision of the PCS Executive to suspend strike action in response to an offer of negotiations over pay from the Head of the Civil Service. I would have liked to have seen effective united strike action by the public service unions (in line with the policy of the TUC). In the absence of that unity everyone has to make tactical judgements based upon the position in which they find themselves.

As the threat of increasing job cuts compounds the reality of real terms pay cuts for public service workers what we now need more than ever is unity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just for info; we may be a small sector in the union, but we do count, we do have a voice and we will use it!!

"Scottish Water workers have voted to strike in pursuit of a fair pay deal.

The ballot of 1,100 UNISON members, which closed on Monday, delivered a 65% vote in favour of action.

The union is now deciding the next steps in the pay dispute, called after the employer imposed a below-inflation pay award on staff worth just 2.4% over 12 months.

The result clearly shows members' anger at Scottish Water’s "irresponsible" imposition of an "inadequate" pay award that falls far short of inflation, said UNISON branch chair Dave Wilkinson.

He added: "We have a window of opportunity to see if we can avoid disruptive strikes – I hope the employers take it and come back to the bargaining table to negotiate an improved offer.

"Our members are not the cause of inflation, they are the victims of it," said branch secretary Steve Scott.

Scottish Water can afford to pay more, he said, pointing out that workers have saved the organisation more than £1bn in recent years through reduced operating costs and improved efficiency.

"It is now time for Scottish Water to recognise the contribution of the workers and reward our members with a fair and proper pay award."...!"