Socialist Worker

Local government workers call new strike during Tory Party conference

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2413

Striking Unison members at Crewe council on 10 July

Striking Unison members at Crewe council on 10 July (Pic: Nina Hammill)


The next strike in the pay battle with the Tories has been announced today, Wednesday. The Unison union has called a second one day strike for 600,000 local government workers on 30 September—right in the middle of the Tory party conference.

This comes after the success of the coordinated strike on 10 July, which involved 1.4 million workers across different unions in the public sector.

The dispute is over pay, which has gone down by on average 18 percent for workers in the public sector since 2010.

Most have been offered a miserly 1 percent this year after three years of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises under the Tories.

Nick Ruff, Kirklees Unison branch chair spoke Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. He said, “I had a stewards meeting today and people are really up that we are still fighting and coming out again.

“Everyone was saying 10 July was great—but we knew one day wasn’t going to be enough.”

The decision was made on Tuesday at the National Joint Council, which is the key body with the power to decide the course of the dispute. It passed a motion that also called for further action in October alongside health workers.

Unison is balloting over 300,000 workers in the NHS to walk out for four hours on 13 October. This is the week leading up to what promises to be a massive TUC demonstration on 18 October.

The 30 September strike could also include more Unison members than the 10 July, as the union will also be involving members who work in academy schools in the next phase of the dispute.

They were not previously balloted and were not part of the action on 10 July—though academy staff in some unions were.

Nick said that every activist can go out now to get organised for the next round of action, “We need to make 30 September the biggest day possible, and then fight to escalate.

“On 10 July people were uplifted by the sense of unity. If we keep up the momentum and pull together with other unions we can beat the Tories’ over their attacks on our pay.” 


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