Socialist Worker

Local government workers organise to throw out shoddy pay 'deals' and restart strikes

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2426

Council workers meet to organise against deal last week

Council workers meet to organise against deal last week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

A revolt is growing among local government workers after unions suspended strikes over pay.

Unison, GMB and Unite union members were set to strike in England and Wales on Tuesday of last week.

Their union leaders cobbled together a 2.2 percent two-year pay deal and suspended the action.

The bosses haven’t even agreed to offer it yet. And most workers would get the same if they had accepted the 1 percent offered originally—which they struck over on 10 July. 

Unison leaders then claimed they had secured “significant” new proposals on pay from council bosses in Scotland. They called off a planned strike of 72,000 workers there set for Tuesday of this week.

As union leaders urged a fight at the TUC rally in London last Saturday, rank and file workers met to organise against their rotten deal.

Union leaders have refused to make any recommendations on how workers should vote in consultations that began this week.

But many union branches are already urging members to reject. 

In Unison’s north west region 28 out of 34 branches recommended rejection last week and Manchester Unison has denounced the “national pay surrender”.


Glasgow City Unison voted unanimously to reject and reinstate the strike in Scotland.

London Tower Hamlets Unison branch secretary John McLoughlin spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. 

“These deals reveal the chasm between the general secretaries and the rank and file of the unions,” he said. 

“We all have to fight to get the biggest turnout of members possible.

“Whatever union officials say, it is for branches to decide how to conduct the consultation. The Tory invention of postal ballots is not the only way of doing it. 

“Stewards can deliver and collect ballot papers to members they represent in their workplace.

“We need to talk to other branches—getting regional and branch recommendations can make a massive difference.”

A Unison report this month showed that workers are suffering the longest decline in pay ever recorded. It was wrong to call off the strikes.

If your union branch hasn’t already organised an emergency meeting to discuss the proposal, call one now. 

Get into every workplace and talk to workers about the ballot.

Unison’s consultation in England and Wales ends on 12 November, and in Scotland on 3 November. Reject these rotten deals—strikes can win more.

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