Public sector workers – striking as a last resort

Andy Newman, Labour Party in Corsham High Street, Chippenham summerOn 10th July, thousands of public sector union members across Wiltshire will be on strike over pay, and as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham I will be supporting them, and joining the rally outside County Hall at 10:30 am.

The government is facing a walkout by more than a million public sector workers, including council staff, school support workers, teachers and civil servants.

The strike is seen as a last resort by people who do vital jobs in our communities: serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms.

The unions have tried sensible discussions, they have sought to negotiate reasonably, they have said they are willing to accept Acas arbitration rather than go on strike – but to everything the unions have tried, the employers have said no.

Local authority pay has gone up only 1% since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales. These hard working, caring people are bearing the brunt of an economic crisis that they did not cause.

The trade union case is reasonable, the employers won’t listen. No wonder union members have turned to strike action as the only way of making their voices heard.

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