Socialist Worker

Tories to be hit by fresh walkout in pay battle

It’s crucial that the momentum built up after the 10 July strike is not lost, argues Raymie Kiernan

Issue No. 2415

Workers rally in Trafalgar Sqaure, London on 10 July

Workers rally in Trafalgar Sqaure, London on 10 July (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Unions have announced another coordinated strike over pay of more than one million local government and school workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The Unison, GMB and Unite unions are set to walk out on Tuesday 14 October. This coordinated strike replaces the planned local government walkout on 30 September proposed by Unison.

It comes after up to 1.4 million public sector workers struck on 10 July. Local government workers are fighting against a miserly 1 percent pay offer from bosses. 

Workers on National Joint Council (NJC) terms are the lowest paid in the public sector, with many relying on tax credits and benefits to survive.

NJC pay has slumped 20 percent as a direct result of the Tories’ austerity and public sector freezes.

Over half a million earn less than living wage and the lowest paid—some 50,000—get just 30p an hour above the national minimum wage. 

But workers showed on 10 July that they want a fightback. And more could join the action in October. Unison announced it will ballot its members in academcy schools on NJC terms between 10 and 24 September. Unite and GMB had already brought out their members in academies to join the strike in July. 

Workers

Local government workers in Scotland will also be balloted over pay between 9 and 29 September and could potentially join the 14 October strike.

And health workers are set to be balloted to join the fight over pay. Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives have said they will ballot their members.

Unison has said its members in the NHS will strikes for four hours on 13 October and 10 November if a yes vote is returned. 

The health ballot runs from 28 August until 19 September. The next local government—and potentially health—strikes are set to take place in the  days leading up to the TUC demonstration on 18 October. 

It’s crucial that the momentum that can be built is not wasted, and the unions use their power to coordinate different sectors to strike together. Workers have shown they are willing to fight.

Now the union leaders must lay out a strategy of sustained action that can win a decent pay rise and beat back the Tories.

Unite the Resistance conference, Striking Together - Organising To Win
Saturday 15 November, central London - register online

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