UNISON

Rank and file must control pay fight!

Author: 

Editorial

The pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen by 21% in the past year. Meanwhile average wage increases have been just 2%, 1.6% in the public sector, below price inflation of 2% (CPI) or 2.7% (RPI).

Over half of the wage rises in the last year were below RPI. In a sample survey of wage settlements for six million workers between August 2013 and August 2014, 13% faced a wage freeze and only 8.3% had a wage rise above 3%.

We are in the longest period of wage depression since records began, as a TUC report found on 12 October.

The top union officials have shown themselves inept and inadequate. Now the rank and file must organise to take control of the pay fight.

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Care UK and Ritzy Cinemas: staying strong against low pay

On Friday 10 October Care UK workers will be striking for the 81st day in their campaign for a Living Wage. Stewards David Honeybone and Diane Marsden spoke to Solidarity.

What led to you taking industrial action?

Interviews with trade unionists fighting for a living wage at Care UK and Ritzy Cinemas.

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Strike to end low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

Unison, GMB and Unite local government workers (and some school workers) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike on 14 October. PCS (the civil service union) will strike across Britain on 15 October. Members of the lecturers' union UCU in Further Education colleges in England have rejected their 1% pay offer by 85%. They will strike on 14 October, on the authority of a previous ballot.

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

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Strike to beat low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Several big unions will strike over public sector pay on 13-14-15 October, but as yet are discussing no follow-up.

At present inter-union communication happens only between general secretaries, or not at all. There should be a joint meeting of the unions' elected executive committees to discuss further action.

Widely-spaced national one day strikes, by themselves, will not win on pay. Unions should use creative tactics to maximise impact, maximise member involvement, and minimise impact on their members' pay.

Strike in October; build connections across unions; press for a strategy to win!

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Strikes on 13, 14, 15 October

Author: 

Gemma Short

The ballot over NHS pay in Unison returned a yes vote with 68% in favour of strike action and 88% of action short of strike action.

Unison has called a four hour strike in all NHS services, from 7-11am on October 13. This is a different day to local government workers, who will be called out on October 14, and PCS (civil servants), who will be out on the 15th.

Both Unison and PCS now have a concrete demand for pay. In local government Unison is demanding whichever is higher out of a £1 per hour increase or the living wage. In the civil service PCS is demanding a £1200 or 5% pay increase.

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Industrial news in brief

Staff at Your Choice Barnet (YCB), who work with a variety of vulnerable adults, were on strike for two days last week.

The strike was in addition to two days the previous week, where they held a joint rally with visiting Doncaster Care UK workers.

The dispute is over a 9.5% pay cut being imposed by YCB management — an arms length organisation devolved from the council. As well as defending their pay, strikers are also demanding to be taken back in house.

The strike is very well supported amongst staff, and picket lines are lively and well attended.

Barnet care workers strike; Brighton refuse dispute; Tube cleaners vote to strike; Tube victimisation; Tube cuts fight.

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14 October: organise on the ground

Author: 

Gemma Short

Between 2008 and 2013 real wages fell by 8.2%, on average. The median worker lost £2000 a year, for many that will have been much worse.

The wage squeeze is worse for younger workers, a 14% drop for those aged 18-25, 12% for 25-29 year olds. Each decade since the 1980s real wages growth has been lower than the previous decade.

In the public sector wages have fallen by 15%, many face a pay freeze.

14 October will be a display of the potential power of the labour movement, and will raise hopes for all workers feeling the squeeze on wages. The labour movement should bolster that hope with a strategy to win.

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Four hour strike in NHS not enough

Author: 

A South London health worker

Last week’s Solidarity carried an article that argued “a four hour walk out [on 14 October] is a good tactic in the NHS [as a starting point]” and “It is vital that discussions on strike tactics are held at workplace level where union members know what action can be most effective”. I disagree.

Unison’s leadership are worried about low turnout and unnecessary deaths on a strike day. They have attempted to solve these problem by proposing a four-hour stoppage. They hope healthworkers will be more likely to strike for half a day and it will be less risky for patients.

Many nurses still believe that it is illegal for nurses to strike and the Unison leadership has done nothing to dispel this myth. It has failed to set out a clear strategy for safe but effective strike action in the NHS.

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14 October can be big!

Author: 

Gemma Short

On October 14, local government workers in Unison, Unite and GMB unions will strike over pay. They may be joined by health workers in Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who all have ballots under way. If civil servants in PCS union join the strike this will be a very large and important action against the huge cuts in pay public sector workers have endured since 2009.

On October 14, local government workers in Unison, Unite and GMB unions will strike over pay.

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