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Unions need to organise anger against Tory pay cap

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Issue 2577
Public sector unions protested outside parliament
Public sector unions protested outside parliament (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Anger against the Tories’ 1 percent public sector pay cap was clear on the streets of central London last Tuesday.

According to the TUC union federation some 1,000 trade unionists marched from Downing Street to protest in Parliament Square.

And around 100 people joined a rally against the pay cap in Northampton last Saturday.

Yasmin, a PCS union member in London, told Socialist Worker, “Its absolutely disgraceful—what the lower and middle grades are taking home is tiny.”

The PCS is holding a consultative ballot asking members if they’d be willing to strike to breach the cap.

And activists have found enthusiastic responses when they’ve organised activities around the ballot. Yasmin said, “I’d absolutely strike, I’m telling members to vote.”

PCS members plan to protest on their pay day next Tuesday. The campaign should be used as an opportunity to build support for a strike and to recruit to the union.

The UCU union plans to ballot some further education colleges.

With inflation hitting a five-year high, now is the time to fight for above inflation pay rises.

Some unions hope to wait for a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government.

But it’s not inevitable that the Tories will fall and Labour leaders have said they would not give above-inflation rises.

At the TUC rally Unison union general secretary Dave Prentis said, “When the time comes—as it will—to strike I want see everyone on the picket lines with us.”

That time has come—the unions need to ballot their members. With Theresa May’s government weak and divided, strikes could not only break the pay cap but break the Tories.

Thanks to John Henry

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