Socialist Worker

Local government workers in Unison union vote to join 10 July strike

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2409

Teachers in the NUT union will join local government workers on strike on 10 July

Teachers in the NUT union will join local government workers in the Unison union on strike on 10 July (Pic: Guy Smallman)


One of the biggest strikes for decades is set for Thursday 10 July.

The local government workers’ Unison and the teachers’ NUT unions have both declared they will strike on that day.

The result of the Unison ballot was announced on Monday of this week. It returned a 59 percent vote to strike against year on year pay cuts. 

The NUT announced last week it would strike alongside local government workers including teaching and support assistants in schools.

Other ballots to join the 10 July strike, of local government workers in the GMB and Unite unions and the PCS civil service workers’ union, are ongoing. The results were set to be announced after Socialist Worker went to press.

“It’s great to see a clear vote for action,” Doncaster Unison branch secretary Jim Board told Socialist Worker. 

“Our members have seen attacks on terms and conditions, on jobs and freezes on pay and progression for the last two years. This, along with a near 20 percent fall in real wages explains why they’re angry and ready to strike.”

Some 500,000 local government workers earn less than the living wage. The lowest paid 50,000 earn just 30p above the minimum wage. On top of this about 500,000 local government jobs have been axed since 2010.

Fury

Fury at cuts to living standards, pay and the fragmentation and privatisation of public services dominated Unison’s conference in Brighton last week. 

As one delegate said, “The justice of a pay rise is beyond doubt.”

And it is fuelling a mood to fight. Bolton Unison member Joan Pritchard-Jones told Socialist Worker, “Working people have had enough.”

“One colleague told me recently ‘I’ve never worked so hard for so little’,” Unison NEC member Karen Reissmann told Socialist Worker.

Joan said the calls for more than just one day of action were absolutely right. “We need a whole week of sustained strikes to take the Tories on,” she said.

The strike on 10 July will be historic in its scale. It will help feed the sense that workers are stronger when they strike together. 

Jim argued, “We need to build the biggest turnout—we need to step up workplace meetings to win the argument and communicate, communicate, communicate. 

“We’re organising joint picket lines to get everyone active in the strike. We have to make sure 10 July leads to harder-hitting strikes in September involving more workers. 

“It must be a day that the Tories will want to wipe from their memory.”

Workers spoke in a personal capacity

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