Union Warns Of Massive Wave Of Strikes

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Union Warns Of Massive Wave Of Strikes

Post by Isakenaz on Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:50 am

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/union-uk-set-biggest-strikes-since-1926-043340932.html

Britain's biggest wave of industrial action since the 1926 general strike will be sparked by Government pension reforms, the largest public sector union's leader has said.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison , issued the warning as angry unions threatened to walk away from talks over plans to pay more for reduced entitlements.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won't be the miners' strike. We are going to win."

It comes after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told public sector workers it would be a "colossal mistake" to reject a deal that was the best they could hope for.

Under the reforms, the general retirement age in the public sector will rise from 60 to 66, in line with the state pension.

The changes will also see public sector pensions based on career-average earnings rather than final salaries.

And also prompting fury was the plan to increase contributions by an average 3.2%.

The Government says those on the lowest incomes will not have to pay any more and that benefits for low and middle earners would remain roughly the same.

Union chiefs have accused Mr Alexander of trying to scupper negotiations by revealing details of the Government's stance to the media.

And with the GMB threatening to pull out of talks, Mr Prentis warned of "rolling action over an indefinite period" until workers get their message across.

"I strongly believe that one day of industrial action will not change anyone's mind in government," he said.

"We want to move towards a settlement. The purpose of industrial action is not industrial action, it is to get an agreement that is acceptable and long-lasting.

"But we are prepared for rolling action over an indefinite period. This coalition has got to open its eyes and see that in just reacting to a Daily Mail view of the public sector they are walking into a trap of their own making."

Mr Prentis, whose union has more than 1.3m members, added that Government cuts were hitting public services hardest.

Up to 750,000 teachers and civil servants are planning to walk out on June 30, during what is being labelled a 'summer of strikes'.

The 1926 general strike - an unsuccessful attempt to prevent miners' pay being reduced - lasted nine days and saw around 1.7m people walk out.

In a TV news interview the government spokesman said that it was wrong for the Unions to force their ideas on the British government, the interviewer replied, "But isn't that what the government is doing to the unions?" There was, unsurprisingly, no reply.

As far as the proposed strikes go, we'll see, as some unions have said they agree with strike action but not at that time. What was it that a union leader said at the time of the miners strike? Oh yes "Either we all hang together or we hang seperately", and guess what happened then....

The day of the Mass Strike is the 30th June, mark that day in your diaries. It will either be the start of something big, or the last whimper of the Unions.
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Re: Union Warns Of Massive Wave Of Strikes

Post by Isakenaz on Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:12 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13826271

Ed Balls warns unions over pension strike 'trap'


Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has urged the unions not to fall into a government "trap" by striking over plans to reform public sector pensions.

He said Chancellor George Osborne was trying to provoke industrial action so he could blame them for the weak economic recovery.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Balls said ministers were wrong to announce changes before talks with unions ended.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there will be negotiation.

Union leaders are threatening the biggest wave of strikes since 1926, after the government unveiled proposals for public sector employees to work longer and pay more for less generous entitlements in retirement.

In his article, Mr Balls writes: "From David Cameron down, ministers are saying to the trade unions: 'Bring it on.' As in the 1980s, they seem to be spoiling for a fight, goading the unions and trying to provoke strikes."

He said "everyone agrees public sector pensions need to be reviewed as people live longer" and pension rules "have to change" for younger workers.

But he added "the government should be getting round the table and talking changes through".

He said the economy was "flat-lining" and Mr Osborne was hoping there would be walk-outs.

"He knows he's losing the economic argument on the deficit and jobs and needs to change course. But instead he's trying to pick a fight about pensions, provoke strikes and persuade the public to blame the stalling economy on the unions."

Mr Balls added: "That's why trade union leaders must avoid George Osborne's trap. He wants them to think that going on strike is the only option and the best way to win the argument."

BBC political correspondent Vicki Young said the Labour leadership had until now refused to be drawn on whether the unions were adopting appropriate tactics in their fight with the government.

The government proposals would see employees - bar members of the armed forces, police and fire service - receive their occupational pension at the same time as the state pension in future.

Many can currently receive a full pension at 60 but the state pension age is due to rise to 66 for both men and women by April 2020.

Ministers also want to move the public sector scheme from a final salary system to benefits based on career-average earnings. However, lower paid workers would not have their pension contributions increased

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Cable said: "The government wants to negotiate over this and our belief is that most trade unionists want to negotiate over this as well.

"It's a very big, complex, difficult issue. But there's got to be reform otherwise the burden falls on taxpayers and future generations. We have got to do something about it."

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has called for negotiations to start afresh.

But a strike by the ATL and the National Union of Teachers is expected to disrupt thousands of schools in England and Wales on 30 June.

They will walk out on the same day as PCS union members, who are mainly from the civil service and government agencies.

Unison, which represents 1.3 million people working for local authorities, the NHS, colleges and the police, has not yet balloted its members on industrial action. Its leader Dave Prentis said unions were prepared for "sustained and indefinite" strikes.

So the Labour Party the champions of British Socialism ( Rolling Eyes ) have finally pinned their 'reformist' colours to the mast. 'Blue Labour'? 'Yellow-belly Labour' is more appropriate, surely? Or is 'Brown' a more appropriate colour? For if the continue their course up the Conservatives asses that will be their eventual colour, they already smell of it. Mad
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Re: Union Warns Of Massive Wave Of Strikes

Post by Isakenaz on Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:58 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13841252

Unison public sector union preparing for strike vote
21 June 2011 Last updated at 08:46

The UK's second largest union is preparing to strike over pension reform as it enters the first day of its annual conference on Tuesday.

In his opening speech, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis will confirm his willingness to negotiate, but also the plan to ballot members if talks fail.

"While we hope for the best, we prepare for the worst," said a spokeswoman for the union.

Negotiations with the government over pension reform resume on 27 June.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning, Mr Prentis warned that any industrial action was likely to be a protracted fight.

"It is quite clear that this coalition will not move if there is one day of industrial action, it will take sustained action, and we will not be starved back like the miners," he said.
'When not if'

Some 2,000 delegates from Unison - which represents workers in healthcare, utilities, local government, police support and teaching - are meeting in Manchester over four days.

Other unions have announced plans to strike on 30 June, however Unison says it would need more time to organise a vote among its 1.3 million members.

It was "now a case of when talks break down, not if they break down" said the Unison spokeswoman, following a speech in London by Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander on Friday that was described by unions as "highly inflammatory".

Mr Alexander accused the unions of spreading "scare stories" about planned reforms, which he claimed were "not an assault" on pensions.

He added that while he was prepared to discuss the detailed implementation of the proposals, the government would be sticking to the broad principles.

Meanwhile, Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has urged unions not to fall into a government "trap" by striking over plans to reform public sector pensions.

Danny Alexander: "I think that's a very fair and balanced offer"

Among the changes to public sector pensions that Unison objects to:

pension contributions will increase from 6% to an average 9% of pay
the retirement age is to be extended to 66 for men and women by April 2020
the inflation linkage of benefits will be switched from the retail prices index to the consumer prices index, which is typically lower

Besides pensions reform, the union also opposes the hundreds of thousands of job losses it expects to result from planned government spending cuts, and the public sector pay freeze, which comes at a time when inflation is running at 4.5%.

Motions to be considered by the conference include an explicit call for strike action over the "coalition's attack on public services".

So the "UKs second biggest union" can be discounted amongst the srtikers for the 30th June. I will try and keep us up to date with developments.
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Re: Union Warns Of Massive Wave Of Strikes

Post by Isakenaz on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:17 am

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/strike-threat-vital-talks-over-mass-walkouts-033559870.html


Strike Threat: Unions Want 'Serious Response'

Crucial talks aimed at averting strikes are underway with the unions calling for a "serious response" from the Government.

The meeting follows weeks of an increasingly bitter war of words over pay and pensions reform.

The TUC's Brendan Barber said he wanted a "serious response" from ministers as he arrived for the meeting at the Cabinet Office in London.

It comes ahead of Thursday's industrial action involving 750,000 public sector workers, including teachers and lecturers.

Schools, colleges, courts and job centres could be affected - but that might not be the end of it.

Unison leader Dave Prentis has already warned that his union will ballot more than a million workers for industrial action if the dispute is not resolved.

He has predicted that walkouts in the autumn could be the biggest since the 1926 General Strike.

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sparked anger earlier this month when he made it clear the Government would press ahead with plans for public sector workers to pay more into pensions and work longer.

One union official said ahead of the talks there are "signs the Government wants to repair the damage" while "clarifying what Mr Alexander said".

However, he added: "The negotiations are fraught with difficulties."

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "What we are looking for is some sign that the Government is prepared to move on the three central issues - paying more, working longer and getting less."

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude , said: "From the outset the Government has said that these talks on pensions reform, which are scheduled to continue into July, are a genuine consultation.

"While the talks are ongoing it is obviously disappointing that some unions have decided on industrial action.

"I can assure the public now that we have rigorous contingency plans in place to ensure that their essential services are maintained during the strike action on Thursday."

The Government has based its proposals on a report earlier this year by former Labour minister Lord Hutton , which recommended increased payments, a switch from final salary schemes to those based on career-average earnings, and rises in the pension age.

But in a speech last week, Lord Hutton warned that people could be forced out of pension schemes if government reforms were too punitive.

The media can say what it likes, but from what I understand the rank and file membership has firm feelings about this.
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