Public sector pay battle 2007-8

The campaign against Gordon Brown's 2%% pay limit for public sector workers

Jobs fight: London Underground, media

As we go to press workers on London Underground are balloting over strike action to defend job cuts and pay.

London Underground is cutting more than a thousand jobs in administration grades. Transport for London is due to cut around three and a half thousand jobs over the next eighteen months.

At the same time London Underground have made an offer of a five-year pay deal — RPI plus one percent in the first year and then RPI only for the next four years. That is an effective pay cut.

As we go to press workers on London Underground are balloting over strike action to defend job cuts and pay.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Probation Service: Build support for a ballot

PROBATION SERVICE: Probation areas up and down the country are facing huge cuts in government funding. Redundancies are already on the cards in several areas along with attacks on terms and conditions.

Probation areas up and down the country are facing huge cuts in government funding.

Trade Unions: 

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Stop these job cuts! Cut work hours, Expand public services!

Author: 

Gerry Bates

According to the bosses’ Confederation of British Industry unemployment will reach 2.9 million by 2010 — an unemployment rate of about 9 percent — up from 1.8 million now. That is nearly as high as the figure reached under the Tories in 1982 and 1992.

Bosses predict three million jobless by 2010. Stop these job cuts.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trade Unions: 

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Why the teachers didn’t strike

Author: 

Pat Murphy

In a recent ballot organised by the National Union of Teachers for discontinuous strike action, 29.7% of eligible members took part and of these 51.7% supported strike action with 48.3% voting against. At an Executive meeting on 6 November we were provided with regional and association (branch) breakdowns of results. In my opinion this made our decision a lot clearer. Together with all but three Executive members I voted to accept the recommendation that we do not proceed to call action. Here are the main reasons why:

By Pat Murphy, National Union of Teachers Executive

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Trade Unions: 

PCS leaders' explanation for calling off the 10 November strike

Author: 

A PCS activist

This is the full text of the PCS leadership's explanation to union reps of why the 10 November strike was called off.

PCS suspends national industrial action over pay

The PCS national executive committee met this morning and following their receipt of a letter from Sir Gus O'Donnell, head of the home civil service, have decided to suspend the industrial action planned from Monday 10 November and the overtime ban proposed to commence on Tuesday 11 November.

Full text of the PCS leadership's explanation to union reps of why the 10 November strike was called off.

Trade Unions: 

The SWP in PCS

Author: 

A PCS activist

The Socialist Workers Party has three members on the NEC as part of the Left Unity slate – Sue Bond, one of the National Vice Presidents, Andy Reid, and Paul Williams.

Paul Williams is a serious trade union militant who AWL supporters suspect was placed on the NEC slate to stiffen the backbone of the SWP NEC members (for instance the then SWP NEC members, including Sue Bond, had supported the calling off the planned jobs, pay and pensions strike in 2005).

SWP’s PCS members have pretty much supported the approach of the NEC to national pay and other big issues throughout the years Left Unity has controlled PCS

Trade Unions: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

PCS leaders' record on action for national pay

In November 2004 PCS members struck in support of six demands, including national pay. Yet pay never featured in the propaganda for the dispute.

Similarly, in 2005, members were balloted on a number of demands – including jobs and pay - but were then told the planned strike, called off for the “two tier” pensions deal, was really only ever about pensions (and frankly pay again did not really feature in the membership bulletins).

The PCS leaders have form in calling off action without anything being offered by the employer.

Trade Unions: 

PCS leaders' record on national pay negotiations

Author: 

A PCS activist

In 2005 the PCS leadership said, “We have persuaded the Government to introduce a fairer, more coherent pay system…” It was typical of the spin that has come to characterise the PCS’s would-be Marxist leadership.

In 2005 the PCS leadership said, “We have persuaded the Government to introduce a fairer, more coherent pay system…” It was typical of the spin that has come to characterise the PCS’s would-be Marxist leadership.

Trade Unions: 

The politics of the PCS's dispute over national civil service pay

Author: 

A PCS activist

The PCS national dispute is a necessary strike against a gratuitous government pay policy that is squeezing public sector workers at a time of sharply rising costs. It is a fight we have to win if civil servants are not to have their living standards slashed this year and in coming years.

It is impossible to speak of the civil service without speaking about low pay, inequality within and without that employment sector, inflation, the struggle to keep going, and the privatisation and regressive taxation policies of the government.

Trade Unions: 

PCS backdown was a mistake

Author: 

A PCS activist

The PCS National Executive Committee's decision to "suspend" the national civil service one day strike planned for Monday 10 November is at best a dreadful mistake. Or it may be a prelude to abandoning the action, possibly on the pretext of some relatively minor concession.

The PCS Executive's decision to "suspend" the strike planned for Monday 10 November is a dreadful mistake - if not a prelude to abandoning the action, possibly on the pretext of some relatively minor concession.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

No strike on pay: where now for the NUT?

Author: 

Gerry Bates

In the ballot for strike action on pay by the National Union of Teachers, which closed on 3 November, 51.7% voted yes, on a turnout of 29.7%. The NUT Executive on 5 November decided to call no action.

In the ballot for strike action on pay by the National Union of Teachers, which closed on 3 November, 51.7% voted yes, on a turnout of 29.7%. The NUT Exec has decided to call no action. Why did this happen and what now?

Trade Unions: 

Civil service and teachers

The PCS civil service union has called a strike for 10 November, and the teachers’ union NUT will announce the result of its strike ballot on 3 November.<--break-->

The PCS civil service union has called a strike for 10 November, and the teachers' union NUT will announce the result of its strike ballot on 3 November.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Scottish local government strike called off

Author: 

Dale Street

On 20th August and 24th September local authorities throughout Scotland were shut down by 24-hour strikes jointly staged by UNISON, UNITE and the GMB. In some parts of Scotland support for the second day of strike action, and the numbers turning out for picketing, were higher on the second day of strike action than on the first.

The strikes had been triggered by an offer of a three-year pay deal from the local authority employers (COSLA) amounting to just 2.5% a year for the next three years. This was subsequently increased to an offer of a one-year deal of 2.5%.

Local authority unions in Scotland have called off a planned campaign of strike action in response to a new pay offer from the employers – a pay offer which is even worse than the one which it replaces.

Trade Unions: 

Public sector pay: how to win

Author: 

Chris Hickey

If anything sums up New Labour as a Government for the rich, a cuckoo in the labour movement nest, it has to be their year-on-year drive to keep public sector wages below the rate of inflation.

If anything sums up New Labour as a Government for the rich, a cuckoo in the labour movement nest, it has to be their year-on-year drive to keep public sector wages below the rate of inflation.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

PCS and NUT may strike on different days

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Unbelievably, it looks as if the pay strikes by civil servants (PCS) and teachers (NUT) in November could be on different days.

The NUT's ballot begins on 6 October, and the PCS's on 24 September. Under the current laws, a ballot mandate for industrial action has to be activated within 28 days, or it lapses; at the same time, however, there's a minimum time (notice to the employer, and so on) between a union getting a ballot mandate and organising a strike.

Unbelievably, it looks as if the pay strikes by civil servants (PCS) and teachers (NUT) in November could be on different days. Activists in the two unions are pressing the leaderships to seek modifications and workarounds to get the action synchronised.

Trade Unions: 

Local government: action suspended after successful strike

Author: 

A Unison member

The two day strike by hundreds of thousands of local government workers [on 16/17 July 2008] has demonstrated that there is a real mood to defeat the government’s imposed pay cut.

The two days saw some wonderful examples of the power workers have — closing many facilities, council offices and schools. In many places strong picket lines effectively stopped other workers, particularly GMB members, going to work and further heightened the impact of the action.

Unison stewards and branches should continue to fight for action in the autumn.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

NUT autumn strike ballot

Author: 

Patrick Murphy

The National Union of Teachers Executive met on 17 July and unanimously agreed a timetable for a ballot on discontinuous strike action as the next steps in the pay campaign.

The ballot will start on Monday October 6th.

Campaigning materials are being produced over the holiday and the strategy will be confirmed at a special executive on Friday 5 September.

NUT ballot for strike action will start 6 October; strike no later than 27 November.

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Trade Unions: 

Local government: My first ever strike

Author: 

A Unison member

The 16th and 17th of July was the first time I have ever been on strike and I picketed outside the council building where I work with a couple of other workers.

The 16th and 17th of July was the first time I have ever been on strike...

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Public pay strikes in Scotland

As we go to press (20 August 2008) a 24-hour strike action by local government workers, members of UNISON, UNITE, and the GMB is taking place.

The same day PCS members employed by the Scottish Government and Registers of Scotland, are staging a follow-up 24-hour strike.

Both strikes are about below-inflation pay offers for workers in the public sector.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has offered local authority workers a three-year pay-deal, with pay going up by just 2.5% each year.

On 20 August 2008), local government workers, members of UNISON, UNITE, and the GMB, struck in Scotland, and so did PCS members.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Fight this wage-cutting government!

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Less than a week after the government’s own measure of inflation jumped to 3.3% and after the Governor of the Bank of England penned a letter warning of further increases to come, Chancellor Alistair Darling continued to insist that: “Pay awards in both the public and private sector have to be consistent with our inflation target, which is 2%”.

What, exactly, will this mean for workers? It means month-by-month, pay pack-by-pay pack attacks on our pay. It means that as prices continue to rocket, the money in our pockets will fall behind. It means, in effect, pay cuts.

Less than a week after the government’s own measure of inflation jumped to 3.3% and after the Governor of the Bank of England penned a letter warning of further increases to come, Chancellor Alistair Darling continued to insist that: “Pay awards in both the public and private sector have to be consistent with our inflation target, which is 2%”.

Trade Unions: 

London Underground cleaners: Striking against poverty and exploitation

On Thursday 26 June, over 700 London Underground cleaners organised by the RMT union, who voted 98% in favour of strike action, will take on multinational cleaning companies ISS, ICS, Initial and GBM in a 24 hour strike. This will be followed by a 48 hour strike from 1 to 3 July. With no cleaners at key depots and stations, the health and safety risks of running a railway without cleaners could paralyse the Tube.

On Thursday 26 June, over 700 London Underground cleaners organised by the RMT union, who voted 98% in favour of strike action, will take on multinational cleaning companies ISS, ICS, Initial and GBM in a 24 hour strike.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Council Worker Solidarity Bulletin

Author: 

AWL Unison

Page 1.
Local government workers:
VOTE YES FOR ACTION!
Workers won’t pay for bosses’ losses
----
Our Pay is a Political Issue

Page 2.
School Support Staff:

Council Worker Solidarity is written by and for Unison members.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

Civil Service Pay

Pay will be the major issue before this year’s PCS national conference. Given the general pay squeeze across the public sector and high inflation rate everybody expects that civil servants will get below inflation offers; with many of these increases being non-consolidated. All rational activists agree on the importance of public sector unions working together. If this were to happen, or even if a few unions were to band together, it would be politically and industrially significant

Pay will be the major issue before this year’s PCS national conference. Given the general pay squeeze across the public sector and high inflation rate everybody expects that civil servants will get below inflation offers

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Action in the autumn

Author: 

Patrick Murphy

The National Union of Teachers Executive met on 8 May for the first time since the 24 April pay strike. For a while it looked like there would be no discussion or vote on proposals to develop the pay campaign. Although the union’s Co-ordination and Finance Committee (CFC) had met the previous day and agreed some activities for the term ahead their report will not be discussed until the next Executive meeting two weeks later. In the event supporters of the left caucus on the Executive put a motion on pay to ensure that some commitments were made.

The National Union of Teachers Executive met on 8 May for the first time since the 24 April pay strike, supporters of the left caucus on the Executive put a motion on pay to ensure that some commitments were made.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

Shelter strikes again on 24-25 April

Workers in the housing charity Shelter are on strike again on 24-25 April against enforced cuts in pay and conditions. Previous strikes on 5 and 10 March forced Shelter bosses, who at first insisted that they would never negotiate, to put the cuts on hold and talk at ACAS. But their ACAS offer was only a one-off “compensation” payment.

Shelter workers rejected the deal by 64% majority, in a 56% turnout, despite pressure from TGWU-Unite full-time officials to accept. Workers have achieved a lot.

Workers in the housing charity Shelter are on strike again on 24-25 April against enforced cuts in pay and conditions.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Public sector activists call for action after 24 April

Civil service by Workers’ Liberty PCS Members

A number of Groups (sectors) in PCS are striking on 24 April alongside the teachers and lecturers.

Our strike will make the news and will undoubtedly worry the powers that be; how much better if the whole of the PCS union was on strike.

Of course it does not stop there. Where are Unison, GMB, Unite etc? Gordon Brown has a united and consistent policy towards public sector pay and employment, yet the union movement does not.

PCS, NUT and UCU members call to build on April 24th Strikes

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

24 April in London

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The picket line at the Shelter office on Old St, London, was good. On the workers' third day of strike action - after a long pause, a lot of pressure from management, and a lot of foot-dragging or worse from full-time union officials - picket numbers were still buoyant, and the mood was defiant.

Old Street is the base for Shelter's top management, and employs a lot of agency workers, so some people did go into work. But, during the time I was on the picket line, only similar numbers to those on the 5 and 10 March strikes.

A good demonstration in London - but both the union leaders, and the established union "left", fell short on follow-up.

Trade Unions: 

Squeezing the poor: the pips should start squeaking!

Pay cuts

Author: 

Gerry Bates

For many years now, inequality has soared, but intimidation by employers and foot-dragging by sluggish trade-union leaders have pretty much kept a lid on wage battles.

Back in the 1970s, the then Labour chancellor Dennis Healey promised (untruly) that he would "squeeze the rich until the pips squeak". New Labour has been squeezing the poor - and so far the pips haven't squeaked much. But squeak time could be coming soon.

* Food prices have gone up 15.5% over the last year. The Tory Daily Mail worked out the figures for its own purposes (18 April), but they're accurate.

The unions should calculate and publicise a cost-of-living index based on the reality of low-paid workers' budgets; and propose as a unifying demand, and campaign for, a "floor" in all pay settlements which guarantees a pay rise sufficient to match the real inflation rate for low-paid workers.

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