Tomorrow we strike and every union member should be taking action to secure a better pay rise for everyone working in Local Government.
Most of the employment rights we have now were won by people taking strike action, such as the 40 hour week, the right to join a union, pensions and holiday pay. All of these struggles involved people making a sacrifice to achieve improvements for everybody. Before they won those struggles people often worked 10 or 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and when they too old to work they often ended up in the poorhouse. Despite being on the breadline, those workers went on strike and relied on solidarity and donations to survive. Thanks to their inspiring efforts our lives are much easier compared to how they lived.
Every person who crosses a picket line makes it more likely that a strike will fail.
Every person who is on strike makes it more likely we will get an increased pay offer.
If you think you can’t afford to go on strike, hardship payments are available to help. If you still think you can’t afford to go on strike, ask yourself, how will you cope next year when food, housing, heating and fuel costs have gone up even more, but your wages haven’t because you didn’t come out on strike.
A lot of different arguments are put up against strike action, mainly promoted by those in power who don’t want any change. They are repeated to us by managers and the media, because they don’t want us to fight and gain improvements. Here are some common ones:
“There is no point in going on strike, nothing ever changes”
This is exactly what those in power want you to believe, so they can keep paying you a pittance knowing that you are not going to do anything about it. The opposite is the truth – only collective action achieves change.
“Going on strike costs more than we gain”
Deductions for a strike are made once and based on 1/365 of your annual pay. In reality this means that you will only lose a small portion of your actual daily rate but an increase in pay stays in our pay packets and then our pensions for ever. For anyone on less than £25k pa, the current 1% offer means you’ll get less than the £250 pa increase promised to public sector workers from 2010. 1% is an insult.
“We’re providing an important service and I don’t like to let people down”
No-one does, but we can’t allow the Government to abuse our goodwill. Government lean on us to say how important it is that we are at work to provide vital services, yet then don’t want to pay us a decent wage to do that job. The services we provide are vital to the community and the only way we can show how important we are is to withdraw our labour for the day. Staff providing life and limb services have already been exempted from the strike so all emergencies will be dealt with.
“We’re in a period of austerity, the country can’t afford it”
Since 2009, while we have suffered a nearly 20% pay cut in real terms, the wealth of the top 1000 individuals in the country has doubled to a staggering £519 billion – more than the combined income of all Local Authorities! Our austerity has been their gain. Private business has more money on deposit now than at any time in history. We did not create the recession this was driven by the greed and carelessness of the financiers and speculators who are now richer than they have ever been. Enough is enough.
“We went on strike previously and it didn’t achieve anything”
This is not the case. We went on strike in 2011 and won massive concessions on our pensions. Anyway we should not apply this logic to going on strike as it is self defeating. Sometimes we win and sometimes we don’t but if we don’t fight we never win.
Don’t leave it to your colleagues to win you your pay rise
Join the strike on July 10