UNISON speaks out for strikers

Tomorrow is strike day for UNISON members working in local government services and schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

And the union has been putting their case across in a variety of online forums.

General secretary Dave Prentis has written on the Labour List blog explaining why so many low-paid workers are prepared to give up a day’s badly-needed wages in their fight for fair pay.

“Local government staff are the unsung heroes of our public services,” writes Mr Prentis. ”They carry out many of our most essential functions up and down the country. They are our teaching assistants.

“They are the people who are caring for our elderly.

“They are the lollipop people ensuring the safety of our schoolchildren.

“And of course they are largely female: 77% of local government workers are women. As a society we need to value and reward our dedicated public servants properly.”

Will Labour remember the forgotten local government workforce?

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefild has used her regular blog at publicfinance.co.uk to state simply that 1% is “a pay offer council workers must refuse”.

“What has motivated our members to take strike action this year when they were reluctant last year and the one before that?” asks Ms Wakefield

“Quite simply – that ‘nothing-to-lose’ feeling and the growing realisation that, if they don’t act now, they might soon be paying councils for the priviledge of having a job at all!”

As she adds in a blog on the need to take action, hosted on the Stronger Unions site: “School and council workers are tired of the government treating them like they are at the bottom of the pile.”

An offer council workers must refuse

#J10: the need to take action against poverty pay in public services

UNISON Scotland’s Public Works campaign pages include a blog by Scottish organiser Dave Watson, who writes: “Public service workers are at the front line of the attack on wages, while this government awards handouts to the super rich.

“Tomorrow is just the start of a fight back to keep workers out of poverty.”

Scottish local government workers have separate national bargaining over pay and have voted for industrial action by two to one in a consultative ballot and will be considering the next stage of their own pay campaign later this month.

Public service workers in the front line of the attack on wages

And it’s not just UNISON people speaking out.

The TUC-run Touchstone blog sees senior policy offer Matt Dykes point out that tomorrow’s strike is “a manifestation of the anger and frustration they feel about the sustained attack on pay and pensions that has played havoc with their living standards and seems to have no end in sight.”

10 July: why public service workers are taking strike action

And the workers are getting backing from Parliament too, where MPs are signing an early day motion that “calls on local government employers to accept the NJC claim and offer a pay award which includes an emphasis on fair rewards for the lowest-paid and hard-pressed sections of the workforce”.

Early day motion 212: local government and school support workers’ pay

Starter for J10

Five ways to get involved on 10 July

Using social media for #J10

Sign up to our Worth It pay campaign