Unions Unite in Calling for an End to Austerity

The fight against austerity is now rapidly gathering a crushing momentum which, if coordinated, will play a central role in bringing a Corbyn-led Labour Government to Downing Street very soon!

Transport union RMT today called on the Government to lift the seven-year pay cap across all employers in the public sector and to increase pay for long-suffering workers above the RPI rate of inflation. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Now is the time to hold this minority Tory Government to account for their politically motivated attacks on public sector pay since 2010 and to demand above inflation pay increases across the public sector before the autumn budget. The tide is turning and public sector workers must be amongst the first to reap the reward.”

In other breaking news, a four year pay settlement offered to firefighters has today been deemed inadequate by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) who explained that it fails to address the concerns of their members. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack was clear:

“Firefighters have endured seven years of pay restraint imposed by the government. Their real wages are falling and our members are struggling to make ends meet… It is sickening to hear politicians praising firefighters for the outstanding work they do every day of their working lives only to be told they have to tighten their belts as a result of economic problems caused by bankers.”

In this case the firefighters’ union were rejecting an allegedly ‘generous’ offer of a 2% basic pay increase, which as Wrack explained, undermines the Government’s nonsense about not having any money. He explained that “This offer demonstrates that the 1% cap is dead in the water but the offer from our employers is simply not enough.” Too right!

Elsewhere in the news, UNISON’s new national executive council met today to outline plans for a hot summer of campaigning. General Secretary Dave Prentis pointed out that UNISON’s autonomous service groups will run their own pay strategies in areas such as local government, health care, education and elsewhere, but acknowledged that “we need a push across the whole union” to break the government’s pay cap policy.

While members of UNITE the union employed at Barts NHS Trust today concretely demonstrated all workers how to fight against austerity by going on strike!

Barts strike
Barts NHS Trust strike – July 4 – photo by Paula Mitchell

Earlier tonight PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka also spoke at a public anti-cuts meeting in Cardiff, where he urged union members and community activists to build a united campaign to end the Tories’ discredited austerity agenda in the wake of Saturday’s successful 100,000 strong demonstration in London. Ahead of the Cardiff meeting, Serwotka said:

“The government is on the ropes over public sector pay, and each day seems to bring a fresh U turn, but meanwhile living standards continue to fall. The pay cap must be lifted for all public servants and all of them need proper pay rises.”

Unions have many reasons to take strike action, and have done for years.

In 2012, at the annual congress of the TUC, union delegates voted overwhelmingly for ‘motion 5’, moved by the POA union (prison officers) in favour of a general strike against the government’s austerity. The wording of this motion called for “coordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike.”

The Tories are weak and divided, and so now is the time to get coordinated and bring an end to Tory austerity once and for all!

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