Pressure for strikes over pay is growing, along with the feeling for united action across different unions:
Tube workers are set to strike on Tuesday into Wednesday next week after management refused even to go to mediation over the dispute. Members of the RMT union have already voted four to one for strikes, and this week drivers in the Aslef union returned a 60 percent vote for strikes in a ballot. A further 24-hour strike has been called to begin on Tuesday 1 October.
Members of the Unison, GMB and TGWU unions in London are set to strike on Tuesday 1 October over allowances for working in the capital. They are fighting for a £4,000 allowance. The strike is set for the day Tony Blair will address the Labour Party conference.
Further education (FE) colleges
Lecturers and support staff in England and Wales across five unions are due to strike over pay on 5 November. Workers in FE colleges in London are also to vote for strikes over London allowance payments.
The results of ballots for strike action by lecturers and support staff in London's 'old' universities (ones that are not former polytechnics) were due on Wednesday of this week. A meeting of London branch secretaries in the Natfhe union was due to take place the same day to discuss coordinated action over London allowances by members in further and higher education.
Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), has written to union secretaries in London confirming that a ballot will take place for a strike over London allowances in 'early November'. The ballot has been delayed to allow the second biggest teachers' union, the NASUWT, to hold a consultative ballot over action in London followed by a strike ballot.
The timing of the teachers' strike ballots would allow action to take place alongside lecturers and college workers in London or nationally. Teachers' union leaders have indicated that national industrial action over workload could take place. But they were also hoping this week to get some concessions from education secretary Estelle Morris. The NUT has submitted a claim for a 10 percent increase (with a minimum rise of £2,000) to the body that sets teachers' pay in England and Wales.