New public sector walkout over pensions set for May 10 (with updates)

Unison members in the NHS on strike on November 30

Civil servants and health workers in the PCS and Unite unions, respectively are set to strike on May 10 against the government's slashing of public and private sector pensions. Unison, the biggest union, won't be with them.

Other public sector unions could be set to join them in what would be the largest industrial action since November 30th, with union-news.co.uk stating that another date is proposed for the end of June.
Unite national officer for health Rachael Maskell said: “The government is picking the pockets of health workers by an average of £30-a-month in order to pay for pension changes which will see people having to work longer to get less.

“This disgraceful attack comes against a backdrop of pay freezes and the threat of regional pay in the public sector. In the face of continued attacks, health workers will be stepping up their campaign and looking to join other public sector workers in taking action on 10 May.”

PCS national executive members this afternoon voted unanimously to strike.

It means the union will be involved in national industrial action across the civil service, health and education sectors; co-ordinated, targeted industrial action in employer groups and sectors; national and regional protests; and political lobbying.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The ongoing programme of industrial action with other unions we have agreed sends a clear message to government ministers that we do not accept their unnecessary plans to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement.

“The government must talk to us with the genuine aim of reaching a settlement but if it refuses, we will press ahead with strikes and protests the length and breadth of the country in the coming weeks and months. And we will continue to show that there is an alternative to this government’s cruel and unfair cuts that clearly are not working.”
The action will come a day after the Queen’s Speech, which is expected to include a Parliamentary bill forcing through public sector pension changes.

Unions say the changes will lead to health workers paying more, working longer and getting less.

Around 100,000 Unite NHS members including health visitors, pharmacists and paramedics now face, on average, an extra £30-a-month to pay for their pensions, against a background of soaring household bills.
The pension campaign comes against a backdrop of public sector pay freezes, pay cuts and the prospect of regional pay. On top of which hard-working health professionals are also facing attacks to their terms and conditions and growing job insecurity.

Unite’s health members voted by a margin of more than 94% to reject the pensions’ package. Their concerns regarding the NHS schemes centre on three areas:

• The linking of the NHS pension age to the rising state pension age – which is set to rise to 68 and beyond. Staff in many key roles doubt their capability to maintain high quality care and patient safety at these ages.
• Most Unite NHS members will see their pension contributions increased from 6.5 per cent to 9.3 per cent over the next three years; this coming after a two- year pay freeze and the proposed two years of a maximum one per cent increase for some staff.
• The proposed new scheme will deliver considerably less pension when members retire, or a pension paid only for a much shorter retirement, and pensions during retirement will be further reduced due to lower consumer price index (CPI) indexation.

The PCS national executive this afternoon restated its desire to meet government ministers for genuine negotiations to achieve a settlement to the long-running dispute.

The union has written to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude requesting further negotiations but, to date, has not received a reply.
PCS has also offered to meet Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander in his Inverness constituency next week.

UNISON is currently balloting members on the Coalition’s proposed pension changes, as is the Royal College of Midwives. Some members have criticised UNISON for rushing through a ballot just before members receive their first reduced paycheques. The ballot states to members that the deal on offer, which is unchanged from the offer before the November 30 strike, is the "best which can be achieved by negotiation".

I personally believe that health members are being balloted first as they are more likely to accept the deal than the historically more militant local government workers, who are not being balloted yet. Then if health workers accept the deal that will put a lot of pressure on us to accept ours. I would urge health workers being balloted to vote no and show the government and the union leaderships that we mean business!

GMB is to begin balloting its members next Monday (23rd April), the ballot is due to close on the 21st May.

I have put this article together mostly from this one with some of my own opinions added in.

Posted By

Steven.
Apr 17 2012 17:26

Share


  • I would urge health workers being balloted to vote no and show the government and the union leaderships that we mean business!

    Steven Johns

Attached files

Comments

jonthom
May 4 2012 21:26

Bump, since this is next week.

What's the situation locally on this? In York there's a plan for pickets at a few workplaces, then a demonstration in the centre of town; pretty much the standard fare tbh. I'm not sure which unions are involved here as yet.

Chilli Sauce
May 4 2012 21:47

I think, again, the unions seem to have done a pretty shit job preparing for this strike. Again.

Steven.
May 10 2012 07:35

Bump, because this is today.

If you are on strike, or have any details about the strike and how it goes, or you visit a picket line please post here to update us!

One of the libcom group who is a nurse (in UNISON) joined Unite yesterday and walked out at midnight last night. I will try to get an update from him later.

Anatta
May 10 2012 09:42
Guardian wrote:
About 20,000 off-duty police officers are due to March in the capital on Thursday and plan to wear a total of 16,000 black caps to mark projected job losses over the next four years

....

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday, one constable said the ban on industrial action by police had put the force at a disadvantage to other public sector employees.

"We don't have industrial rights and we cannot do anything about the poor treatment we are receiving," said Julie Nesbit of the Police Federation, which represents 124,000 rank and file officers. She added: "The police service is the ultimate public service. We are the people without whom the rest of the public services cannot function."

Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester police, said police pay needed to be reformed but said he understood the federation's concerns. "I can understand the concerns of officers," he said. "The government has recognised that police officers do need to be paid more than other emergency services."

Would love to see what these off-duty police officers would do if it kicked off?

Chilli Sauce
May 10 2012 09:56

Scottish prison officers seem to be out in defiance of an an agreement between their union and the gov't (unlike in England, it's not illegal for them to strike):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18016465

Spikymike
May 10 2012 15:41

Attended a very small Salford/Manchester Union march and subsequent rally today (250 attendees approx) dominated by the usual sprinkling of leftists - I assume most strikers (don't know the numbers) in this rather disunited strike had better things to do. Vague talk of another 1 day strike of the same together with some NUT members but seems to be on the wain to me.

cornered beef
May 10 2012 16:37

Majority unionised health workplace here. Only reps were off work today. No exaggeration. And less than half of them were out out. No publicised lead up. No information. Absolutely tedious. Over ten percent of the turnout were there to sell papers. Another ten journalists. Washout. Should have take the lie in. After these last couple of years, I won't be 'rally'ing or picketing any more. Not that I had illusions mind, I'm not completely fucking stupid.

Harrison
May 10 2012 16:43
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Scottish prison officers seem to be out in defiance of an an agreement between their union and the gov't (unlike in England, it's not illegal for them to strike):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18016465

they've illegally wildcatted in England as well

Independent wrote:
Some reports claimed that guards had walked out at 80 per cent of jails in England, causing inmates to be placed on lock down and leaving minimal cover.

The protest is the first by prison officers in five years.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prison-officers-stage-unlawful-walkout-amid-public-sector-strikes-7732981.html

Harrison
May 10 2012 16:54

also BBC Radio 4 mentioned that there was some evidence that the wildcat was organised by their union, also suggesting there was cooperation from the leadership (don't know how accurate this is)

Choccy
May 10 2012 17:29
spikymike wrote:
Vague talk of another 1 day strike of the same together with some NUT members but seems to be on the wain to me.

We're hearing June 28th internally.

fingers malone
May 10 2012 17:44

We had about 40 on picket line. People came from local schools and gave us collections they had done for hardship fund. Another workplace decided since the whole section was on strike and everyone else was in non-striking unions they all came to our place instead which was really good.
We're hearing end of June too.

working class s...
May 10 2012 17:54

Brief report on fascists attacking a picket line in Liverpool

http://libcom.org/blog/fascists-launch-failed-attack-liverpool-picket-line-10052012

Jason Cortez
May 10 2012 19:51

In Lewisham I attended a few pickets, about between 10 -20 on them. Later went to the London (funeral?) march, pathetic turn out of about 1500 mostly left union activists and fellow travellers. Marched from St Thomas to the Methodist church next to Queen Elizabeth 2 conference centre. To arrive and see the spectacle of a fair number decide to join the Police Federation march which was passing on its way to Trafalgar Square. Joined a small group from Defend the Right to Protest (mainly SWP) chanting at the police. went to the pub for lunch only for it later to be filled to the brim by the police.

Steven.
May 11 2012 08:40
cornered beef wrote:
Majority unionised health workplace here. Only reps were off work today. No exaggeration. And less than half of them were out out. No publicised lead up. No information. Absolutely tedious. Over ten percent of the turnout were there to sell papers. Another ten journalists. Washout. Should have take the lie in. After these last couple of years, I won't be 'rally'ing or picketing any more. Not that I had illusions mind, I'm not completely fucking stupid.

are you talking about Unite here? Mind if I ask what kind of health workplace it is which has majority union membership? Do you mean the majority Unite union membership? (Because the biggest unions in health, Unison, RCN, BMA weren't striking) Unite is pretty small in the NHS - not many over 100,000 members out of well over a million workers.

Spikymike wrote:
Attended a very small Salford/Manchester Union march and subsequent rally today (250 attendees approx) dominated by the usual sprinkling of leftists - I assume most strikers (don't know the numbers) in this rather disunited strike had better things to do. Vague talk of another 1 day strike of the same together with some NUT members but seems to be on the wain to me.

yeah, last I heard from the NUT was that rather than action in summer they seem to be focusing on trying to get an alliance with NASUWT who were more talking about action in winter…

There seemed to be almost zero media coverage of the strike

communal_pie
May 11 2012 08:45

Huge amounts of people around London, around Camden, Euston, Stoke Newington/Dalston and Hackney, fightfighters..British Lib workers, saw some security guards going about shaking hands and stuff, quite a big show really.