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Unions launch ballots to fight the Tories’ pay cap

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Issue 2575
“Pay up now,” say marchers in Edinburgh last Saturday
“Pay up now,” say marchers in Edinburgh last Saturday (Pic: Unison Scotland)

Up to 2,000 people marched against the public sector pay cap in Edinburgh last Saturday.

Unison union general secretary Dave Prentis spoke at the rally, which was organised by Unison Scotland.

Other unions are launching ballots to strike.

Civil service workers in the PCS union began voting in a consultative ballot on Monday of this week.

The ballot, set to end on Monday 6 November, will ask PCS members if they would be prepared to strike to beat the 1 percent public sector pay cap.

The ballot should be a stepping stone towards national strikes across the civil service to beat the pay cap.

PCS activists should organise the campaign as if it were a real strike vote—and take the opportunity to build the mood for a fightback.

The NUT section of the National Education Union (NEU) discussed pay in a meeting last week. It committed to building a pay campaign and discussing the possibility of a joint pay claim with other unions.

Unfortunately stronger wording making a definite commitment to holding a ballot on pay was taken out by an amendment.


The NEU will join a number of other unions has called a march to the TUC rally and lobby over pay in central London on Tuesday 17 October.

Meanwhile the UCU union is set to ballot workers in some colleges. Bosses had offered a below-inflation 1 percent rise.

The Further Education Committee (FEC) of the UCU met on Friday of last week and voted overwhelmingly to ballot for strikes over pay.

It follows a 75 percent vote for action in a consultative ballot.

The union’s national executive committee had previously decided that consultative ballots must achieve a 50 percent turnout in order to lead to a strike ballot.

The FEC will ballot all branches with a turnout of 30 percent or higher in the consultative ballot.

UCU activists should campaign for a big yes vote—and the union should swiftly call action.

But much more needs to be done to turn union leaders’ fighting talk over pay into a reality.

Britain still needs a pay rise: Tuesday 17 October: Assemble Downing Street at 5:30pm, march at 6pm to joinTUC rally in Parliament Square at 6:45pm which will be addressed by Labour leaderJeremy Corbyn and top trade union speakers.

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