Socialist Worker

South and East England public sector strike reports, 16 July

Issue No. 2110

On strike in Brighton (Pic: Mark Abel)

On strike in Brighton (Pic: Mark Abel)



Norwich

There were pickets at City Hall, Country Hall, the library and other key workplaces. Pickets were pleased that some people who had planned to go in were turned around. At City Hall a post office delivery van was also turned back.

One picket who works in social services said, 'Both me and my wife are taking action. We have to work weekends to make ends meet. We can't afford to go on like this.'

The majority of workers were out across the city, although a few crossed the picket lines.

One of those crossing said they couldn't afford to take action. A picket replied that they can't afford not to.

Julie Bremner


Approximately 200 striking Unison members and supporters attended a lively rally in Norwich city centre at lunchtime on Wednesday.

Speakers at the rally included Jonathan Dunning, Unison’s County Hall branch secretary, Kevin O'Grady, City Hall branch secretary, Lindsey Charnock of Unison and Julie Bremner from the trades council. A Green Party councillor also spoke in support of the strike.

The Red Flags provided music and many people stayed after the rally to discuss the issues with the press and members of the public.


Southend

Striker Claire said, “We have had enough of below-inflation deals.

“We’re furious that that our senior managers awarded themselves an average of 5 percent. Not only is that more than double our offer, but it’s apparently performance-related.

“We’ve performed and they’ve reaped the reward. This hypocrisy has hardened people's feelings and is bringing people out onto the picket lines.”


Luton

Pickets were out in force across Luton town centre and received warm support from passers by.

Strikers were set to hold a lunchtime rally addressed by representatives of the NUT and PCS unions as well as striking Unison members.

At least one school had shut as a consequence of Unison members going on strike.

After visiting picket lines, Steve Coghlin, the NUT rep at Luton Sixth Form College, who was set to address the rally, told Socialist Worker, “We are public sector workers together, fighting a government pay policy based on below inflation offers. The lie is that it’s our pay which is causing food and energy price rises when it’s the fault of speculators and financiers.”


Portsmouth

We’ve closed half a dozen schools and all the public libraries except for one. The main council is severely affected – even the deputy leader of the council refused to cross our picket line. People are feeling confident and pleased with how strong the strike is. Everyone’s saying that it’s clear we’ve got public support – that’s fantastic.

Lee Sprake, striking youth worker


Brighton

The strike was particularly solid in the main council buildings.

Chris, one of the pickets, said, 'It was opportune that the new inflation figures were announced on the news last night. It made it clear that we are fighting against a wage cut.'

The most militant group of council workers is the refuse workers, who are in the GMB union. We understand that many of them wanted to walk out today but in the end it didn't happen on the first strike day.

Mark Abel

Pickets in Cambridge (Pic: Richard Morgan)

Pickets in Cambridge (Pic: Richard Morgan)


Strikers at Hythe in Hampshire (Pic: Steve Squibbs)

Strikers at Hythe in Hampshire (Pic: Steve Squibbs)



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