UK

Council and school support workers to strike over pay

  • 23 June 2014
  • From the section UK
Unison sign saying "strike for fair pay"
Unison said the workers had "borne the brunt of the government's austerity agenda"

Local government and school support workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have voted to strike over pay, public service union Unison has said.

The union said a one-day strike would be held on 10 July.

The Local Government Association (LGA) called the vote for strike action "disappointing" but said it would "not change the pay offer we have made".

Members of other unions are currently voting on proposed strikes, with a day of action planned for 10 July.

Unison said local government workers and school support staff - which include all school workers except teachers - had been subject to a three-year pay freeze and had now been offered a 1% pay rise.

The union said almost 85,000 workers - mainly low-paid women - voted and more than 58% backed the strike. About 410,000 workers had the chance to vote.

'Deserve better'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "These workers care for our elderly, clean our streets, feed and educate our school children and keep our libraries running, but they receive no recognition in their pay packets.

"They are mainly low-paid women workers, stressed and demoralised, and they deserve better from their employers and from this government.

"This is the group that has borne the brunt of the government's austerity agenda."

Mr Prentis said Unison members "expect to be joined" by other unions in the strike on 10 July, adding: "The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute."

Unison said pay freezes and below-inflation pay rises had reduced local government workers' pay by 20% since the coalition government came to power in 2010.

The GMB and Unite unions are expected to announce the results of strike ballots in the coming days, and the National Union of Teachers has already announced a strike on 10 July.

Unison and the National Union of Teachers will both hold strikes on 10 July

Midwives in England are currently being balloted about possible strike action after the government did not approve a recommended 1% pay rise for all NHS staff.

Responding to the planned Unison strike, an LGA spokesman said: "Local government staff have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory and we have no doubt that many will still be at work on the day of strike action.

"The pay offer we have made would increase the pay of most employees by 1% while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than 4%.

"This is the fairest possible deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford.

"This strike will not change the pay offer we have made, but it will mean those who take part lose a day's pay."

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