UNISON and UNITE in local government must co-ordinate industrial action with the teachers and junior doctors!
By a local government worker in Coventry
The 3 local government unions – UNISON, UNITE and GMB have concluded their consultations on the pay claim. The offer from the employer was just 2 per cent over 2 years.
UNISON and UNITE returned big majorities for rejection, 64 per cent and 87 per cent respectively. GMB members voted by a margin of 9-1 to accept the offer. The GMB result is disappointing for anyone wanting to fight for decent pay. Certainly the scandalous bulletin being distributed by GMB national officers, in which UNISON and UNITE are attacked for delaying members’ pay increase is particularly unhelpful.
The fact that the GMB have departed before the battle has begun is a certain blow. It is always preferable for the maximum possible unity to exist, but that unity can’t be based around sub-standard pay deals and surrendering without a fight.
What has since become clear is that UNISON and UNITE put to the employer that instead of the pay deal being over 2 years, it should be for 1 year. This was rejected by the employers side and both unions appear to be seeking full industrial action ballots.
Activists in UNITE and UNISON should push for the building of ‘the spirit of N30’, when over 1 million public sector workers from a whole host of unions came out on strike together in defence of pensions in November 2011
We should urgently look to co-ordinate our action with those of the teachers who are likely to strike over the academisation of our schools, and the junior doctors who are fighting against the imposition of changes to their contracts.
With the allegations of serial tax evasion from David Cameron, the steel crisis, and open splits over the EU referendum, the government is far weaker now than in 2011.
What is more, the billions squirreled away in tax havens show once and for all that the money is there for council workers to have decent pay. The money is also there for play centres, libraries and other vital public services that we all rely on.
This government can not only be defeated on pay. By piling on the pressure we can force the Tories out and defend working class people against austerity and build a movement that puts a new type of society on the agenda.