Tens of thousands more workers in London are to be balloted on possible action over pay. Council workers, health workers, higher education admin workers and more could be united in a vote across the capital which could pave the way for action. We reported in Socialist Worker last week that delegates from Unison union branches across London had backed an indicative vote among council workers.
This is over fighting for an increase in London weighting, the extra pay workers get for the higher costs of living and working in the capital. If the indicative vote is successful it would then pave the way for a ballot on action.
The London regional committee of Unison has now decided to push for the indicative vote to be extended across all sectors, bringing health and higher education workers in. There are some issues to be resolved, as different groups have their pay and London weighting negotiated or worked out differently. But the move is a chance to unite a huge number of workers in a fight which can win.
'Everyone knows there is real feeling on pay. It is especially sharp in London, given the rising costs people face,' says London Unison region deputy convenor Candy Udwin.
LECTURERS IN further education colleges could be due to strike over pay. A special conference of the further education sector of the lecturers' Natfhe union saw delegates vote to ballot on action to win a decent pay rise.
If the action is backed by lecturers it will start with a two-day strike in May. Delegates also ruled out accepting any deal which includes performance related pay.
TEACHERS IN London are angry over pay, and could be moving towards action. A rally last week heard calls for strikes and saw union leaders promise an indicative vote on possible action.
The 170-strong rally organised by the NUT union branch in Camden saw anger at the government and criticism of national union leaders. The government has announced a 3.5 percent rise for teachers in England and Wales. The allowance teachers get for working in the capital will be just £3,105 in inner London and £2,043 in outer London.
There are already massive teacher shortages, and the soaring cost of both housing and living costs in London is driving even more people out of the profession.
Some of the loudest applause of the evening came when one speaker contrasted lack of money for education with millions spent on the war in Afghanistan. Jerry Glazier, chair of the NUT's national action committee, said the union would authorise an indicative ballot over action on London pay. Most people were unhappy that this was one stage short of a ballot for strikes.