More local govt workers vote to strike against low pay

They will Unite with Unison, so to speak…

Unite members in local government vote 3 to 1 for strike action

26 June 2008

Thousands of workers working in local government have voted by three to one in favour of strike action, rejecting the employer’s below inflation pay offer.

Workers voted to reject an offer of 2.45 percent, which with inflation now at 4.3 percent represents a real terms pay cut.

Nearly 40,000 council workers providing services in school catering, social care, refuse and environmental services in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will now strike on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th July, 2008.

Peter Allenson, Unite National Secretary for the Public Sector, said: “Our members work very hard providing essential public services and they will not carry the can for inflation by taking pay cuts. They have voted for sustained action to defend their living standards which should send a clear message to employers: get round the negotiating table as soon as possible and make an offer that will not result in a serious cut in living standards to our members.

“It is simply unfair and untrue to accuse public sector workers of stimulating price rises. Low paid local government workers are more likely to be the victims, rather than the cause of, rising inflation.

“The recent rise in living costs has meant that the average household has had to find an extra £1537 from the family budget in 2008, compared to 2007, to cover basic costs such as food and petrol.”

Dave Mathieson, a Unite member and council worker from Humberside, said: “I will be out on strike with my workmates on the 16th and 17th. The people making these decisions over our pay do not realise that for us it is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul when our bills come in. We are getting further and further into debt each month. I don’t think what we are asking for is unreasonable. Our bosses should try living on what we earn – they’d soon find it doesn’t go very far.”

Unite will have members out on picket lines across the country on both Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th July.