United Kingdom - Widespread strike of public servants and teachers - June 30, 2011

For Thursday 30 June PCS, the largest civil service union, called for strike action in protest at government changes to pensions and cuts in jobs. A members’ ballot gave a 61% majority in favour of strike action with just under 84% backing other forms of industrial action. The strike coincided with strike action already called by two teaching unions and the university and college lecturers’ union, while the POA prison union organised workplace protest meetings and started a ballot for industrial action. In total 750,000 workers may have been involved. The unions took action over the government’s refusal to negotiate the main changes it is proposing to make to the civil service pension scheme. Civil servants will be required to work longer to get a full pension and contributions will be increased. Similar changes are being proposed to other public sector schemes. Government ministers who had predicted “minimum disruption” conceded that more than 11,000 state schools – over half the total – were affected, along with airports, benefits offices, driving tests and galleries and museums. The PCS union concludes that the strike was one of the best supported ever. While Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has repeatedly denounced the public sector action, it has the full support of the country’s union confederation. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, addressing a meeting in Exeter, said: “As the cuts begin 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 ever harder to make ends meet. On top of that now they are coming for your pensions.” A TUC report has calculated, based on official data, that pay freezes and pension cuts would imply for low-paid public sector staff a fall in their living standards of 8.5% by 2012-13 (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 4 April and May 2011).

English: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jun/30/public-sector-pensions-policy;

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-19724-f0.cfm ;


http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/news_centre/index.cfm/id/93 ...


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. 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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