A great day for the fight over pay

briefing documentYesterday was magnificent. A national strike against lower than inflation public sector pay awards by teachers (NUT), college lecturers (UCU), and civil servants (PCS). There was a strike in Birmingham by local government workers challenging pay cuts imposed as part of “equal status”. Lastly, from my own union Unite, a national strike of Shelter workers challenging pay cuts and longer working hours.

They were all strikes against the Government’s attempts to keep wages down. Even the Shelter strike was a direct result of the Government pushing work from the public to voluntary sector and then demanding cost-cutting on the contracts.

Everywhere the spirit was high. Here are some reports and photos from around the country.

Yesterday may not have been enough to force the Government to retreat, but it showed the anger felt by hundreds of thousands. It showed that people were not simply prepared to sit back and take what they were offered.

There’s a lesson for us in the NHS. The Government, with the assistance of a couple of union leaderships, is trying to impose a rotten three year deal on us. It’s not good enough to just grumble, we need to show to the Government collectively that the deal is not acceptable to health workers.

I’ve produce a briefing document for Unite members in my Trust explaining what’s wrong with the deal. We have every major political party and the press coming out on the Government’s side, so we need to make sure our arguments get the widest circulation.

Unite has rejected the deal without a ballot. But we still have to rally our members against the deal. In my Trust we are holding a mass meeting next week to endorse our opposition. We want all of our members to be involved. The more we build up collective opposition now, the easier it will be to move to industrial action, if we need it, later.

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