Unite votes YES to public sector strike action on November 30th

17 Nov

Delegates to the STUC Women's Congress support the day of action

Unite members in Scotland have strongly endorsed the public sector strike action scheduled for 30 November in ballot results announced today. 74% of local authority workers and 80.5% of those in the NHS voted in favour of taking industrial action. Unite members will join millions of fellow public sector workers on a day of action that will challenge the Coalition Government’s assault on public sector pensions, and on living conditions for working people.

The vote for strike action heaps further pressure on the government to rethink its plans to force public sector workers to pay more and work longer, but for a poorer pension in retirement.

Economic indicators show that the cuts aren’t working: the UK economy is stagnating, with 2.6 million unemployed, including one million young people stuck on the dole queue. Chancellor George Osborne is left scrambling for explanations as it becomes clear he will miss his target for deficit reduction. Desperate attempts to massage unemployment figures by forcing unemployed people to provide free labour to supermarkets will only further undermine the job market for those seeking work.

Commenting on the result of the ballot, Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said:

“Public sector workers in Scotland are telling the government that `enough is enough’. They are enduring wages cuts, rising living costs and horrific job losses, as the UK government forces the less well off in this country to pay for the sins of the elite. They are not prepared to stomach this attack on their pensions, too.

“A deal has been struck with the Scottish Government to exempt the increase in contributions of local government employees. While Unite views this as progress in contrast with the imposition by the UK Government there is still the outstanding issue of all public sector workers having to work longer to receive a smaller pension. For public sector workers outside of local government they are still faced with the prospect of paying more into a pension.”

For all public sector workers the change in the way the pensions are calculated from RPI to CPI will see 15 per cent automatically wiped off the value of pensions.  Unite is one of a group of unions currently challenging this move in the High Court.

For information on the 30 November day of action, see the Pensions Justice Scotland website.

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