United Kingdom -Massive participation in public sector pensions strike -December 1, 2011

On Wednesday 30 November, tens of thousands of public sector workers all over the country have taken part in marches and rallies to protest against planned changes to pensions. Hundreds of events have been held as part of what the organizing unions have claimed is the biggest walkout in a generation. All strike ballots had been in favour of the strike, and the unions expected some 3 million public sector workers could be involved. In spite of the disruption caused, at many occasions the public showed sympathy for the strike (a few days earlier, an opinion poll commissioned by BBC News suggests over 60% of people believed public sector workers were justified in going on strike). In Manchester for example, an estimated 20,000 marchers had come into town with one message for the government – “Everyone deserves a decent pension”, as one Unison poster declared. In Scotland, with an estimated 300,000 went on strike, some 10,000 people took to the streets in Glasgow and an estimated 7,000 workers marched in Edinburgh. TUC confederation general secretary Brendan Barber told a rally at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena: “This is an unprecedented day - 30 unions have members taking action together.” Barber added: “The brutal truth is simply this - that the living standards of millions of low and medium-paid public service workers are being hammered in the name of reducing the deficit. The cuts are beginning to scythe through our public services, more and more jobs are under threat, and as the pay freeze bites - while inflation roars ahead - real wage cuts are making it harder than ever to make ends meet” (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 4 April, May, June, July-August, September and October 2011).

English: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15971714
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15954967;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15910621

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-15938970
 

 

This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) M.vanKlaveren@uva.nl. or the communications officer of the ETUI, Mariya Nikolova mnikolova@etui.org. You may find further information on the ETUI at www.etui.org, and on the AIAS at www.uva-aias.net. © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2011.


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