Scottish TUC deputy general secretary Dave Moxham called for trade unionists to learn from the college lecturers’ victory and “challenge the public sector pay freeze”.
Speaking last Saturday, he said a series of successful industrial disputes in Scotland over the last couple of years showed a growing confidence among workers.
Moxham also pointed to Nicola Sturgeon’s words on last week’s televised leaders’ debate.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader said the pay cap was unsustainable and something that “we must address”.
Council workers across Scotland are currently balloting for strikes against another derisory pay offer.
They should use these words as a spur to get the vote out among their 70,000 Unison union colleagues.
The lecturers’ EIS Fela union president John Kelly had a simple message to council workers wondering how to get a better pay rise from council chiefs.
“Striking works,” he told Socialist Worker.
Glasgow Unison rep Stuart agreed. “Lecturers have shown that coordinated national action works—that’s what we need to do in local government,” he said.
“We need to deliver a big vote for action.”
Years of “pay restraint” and inflation mean local government pay is worth far less now than ten years ago.
The ballot ends next Tuesday—workers should vote to strike.
Many of the issues that fuelled the college dispute, such as funding cuts and soaring workloads, are transferable across the public sector.
Norah thought this is what laid behind the “doubling of numbers at our members’ meetings recently”. The Unison rep said, “I think it is the context of unrest over the pay offer, people feel undervalued.
“They’re also overstretched at work. We can take inspiration from the lecturers’ victory.”
Moxham said the pay cap is “Tory-inspired”.
But he said the college strikes “have proved that there are things that can be done in Scotland if the political will is there”.
He told the EIS Fela victory rally, “That’s where we are going to turn our attention in the period ahead. That’s where you are leading us—and public sector workers should follow.”