Tuesday, February 02, 2016
FE members back national pay strike
UNISON members working in further education (FE) colleges have voted decisively in favour of both strike action and action short of strike action in opposition to the employers' "offer" of 0%.
The Sector Committee meets tomorrow to decide what action to take on the basis of the mandate given them by their members (although a final decision will be for the Industrial Action Committee of the National Executive Council (NEC) - or its Chair.
UNISON members in FE face the same barrage of attacks as our members in other sectors, at the same time as our organisation is caught between the malevolent legislative intent of a viciously hostile Government on the one hand, and the organising challenge of a continuously fragmenting public service workforce on the other.
These other challenges are, however, not at all arguments against a focus on national pay claims and national pay disputes. On the contrary, the opportunity to mobilise (and recruit and organise) members around a unifying demand for fair pay is also an opportunity to face up to all our other challenges.
A vigorous national pay campaign can strengthen our hand in each locality to respond effectively to cuts and mergers. A commitment to use our right to strike is the very best response to the Tories' threat to that right. A high profile example of the use of trade unionism to promote the collective interests of organised workers is the best possible advertisement for trade unionism to the unorganised millions.
The decision to call for strike action is never an easy one, but, the members having spoken, UNISON needs now to show our members in FE the support and leadership which can inspire the effective national action which is needed.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.