UNISON today announced that it’s council workers will be on strike on the 30th, this is shaping up to be the largest strike in recent history.
We have already reported that teachers and civil servants voted for strikes in national ballots that could see over 500,000 public sector workers on strike over pensions. The best way to keep up with what is happening around the country is J30strike.org or on twitter as @J30Strike.
Locally the strike is set to be huge, with the addition of up to 9,000 council workers. As well as that UCU members at Birmingham City University and in the Birmingham Adult Education Service have previously been balloted for strike and will join in on the 30th June.
I will be endeavouring to get a list of pickets and other activities around Birmingham on the 30th, and mapping them out on this page
There will be a huge, regional, strike rally in Birmingham, assembling at 12noon in Victoria Square. Invite people to the facebook event. Strikers from around the West Midlands will come to the city centre of Birmingham for the rally, with workers in Wolverhampton holding a rally from 10:45-11:15am and then coming into Birmingham en masse.
With so many workers on strike, this rally should number in the thousands, and will march around the city centre.
Speakers at the rally include Kevin Courtney (Deputy General Secratary of the NUT), Hugh Lanning (Deputy General Secretary of PCS) and Michael McNeil (UCU Head of HE). We expect to have confirmation on speakers from ATL and UNISON as well. There will also be local speakers from all the unions involved and someone from Birmingham Against the Cuts.
We call for everyone who can to attend the rally. If you work, can you book a day of annual leave, or come an join us in your lunch hour? If you are a student, benefit claimant, pensioner, parent or anyone else who is not working on that day, come and attend. Make this about the cuts, and austerity in general and not just about the specific strike actions on that day. This strike is part of the anti-cuts movement – obviously and directly in the case of UNISON, and although the pensions question has been ongoing since before the crisis, the way in which the ConDem’s are seeking to change public sector pensions (whilst leaving MPs’ pensions alone of course) fits directly with the austerity programme, and the wider anti-public services ideology that pervades this coalition.
Show the strikers that they have your support. I will by posting a post sometime this week with more of the arguments as to why public sector worker pensions should matter to private sector workers, or people who don’t work. You can read some of it in the posts about the Teachers and Civil Servants strike decision.
In the case of UNISON it’s pretty simple – huge cuts in pay and big changes in condition for workers cannot improve the services provided by the council, who are also cutting funding by a whopping £212million this year. As council services degrade, the ideology of the ruling parties suggest to me that they will look to outsource those services to the private sector, probably with similar results to the childrens homes (in short: costs more for a worse service).
They are striking to defend public services. The dispute they can raise is about pensions, pay and terms and conditions. With attacks on the unions coming from politicians, it is important that we show the strikers that they have our support. So parents, if your school is closing on the 30th June, why not bring your kids along to the rally.