Some thoughts why so many went on strike


Why are the many not surprised by the actions of this Coalition attacks on public-sector pay have robbed workers of enough cash to feed their families for eight months straight from now until the general election.

 If I’m honest enough I would say that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) researchers said on 8 July 2014 that public-sector workers had lost the equivalent of £2,245 a year through freezes and below-inflation rises since 2010.

Official figures put the cost of a typical family’s weekly shop at £60 — meaning that the lost wages would have kept kitchens stocked for 37 weeks.

The TUC’s shocking study comes on the eve of tomorrow’s enormous strike over years of real-terms pay cuts.

Workers across the country from school crossing guards to NHS staff, teachers to refuse workers walked out to demand an end to the government’s assault.

Two million people belonging to unions including PCS, GMB, FBU, RMT, the National Union of Teachers, Unison and Unite are set to join picket lines.

“Wages are falling further behind the cost of living and in the last four years some civil servants have seen their income fall by 20 per cent,”

“The meagre economic recovery is only benefiting the rich we need a recovery for everyone.

photo 4“We need an alternative to cuts where we invest in public services to help our economy to grow, where jobs are created, not cut, and where we clamp down on the corporate tax dodgers who deprive our economy of tens of billions of pounds a year.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the coalition’s vaunting of an economic recovery had brought no “let up” for ordinary people on their payroll.

“Instead several more years of penny-pinching and frugal living lie ahead,” she said.

“In local government and right across the public sector — workers believe that ministers neither care about nor understand the pressures on their already stretched household budgets.

“Meanwhile the government seems happy for the public purse to miss out on billions through income tax cuts for the wealthy and corporation tax reductions for big businesses, yet says there’s no money to give a decent pay rise to struggling care assistants, nursery workers, dinner ladies and other local authority employees.

photo 2“Public servants have understandably had enough  now is the time for ministers to start listening and to realise that it was never going to be possible to keep the lid on the public sector forever.”

Many are not surprised by the actions of coalition to say they support the right to strike but never support any actual strikes? From the Telegraph’s splash:

“A million pupils face being turned away from classes on Thursday as teachers go on strike based on a poll of just a quarter of union members two years ago. The Prime Minister pledged to overhaul an archaic law that has allowed members of the National Union of Teachers to disrupt children’s education without any fresh ballots. The move would put an end to union powers to hold an unlimited number of ‘rolling’ strikes based on a single vote that has enabled the NUT to take action three times this academic year alone.”

I will give my reason why I went on strike on 10 July with my trade union colleagues:

1. These workers keep your services going day in day out, despite savage government cuts to vital services and jobs. They look after the elderly, the vulnerable and help educate our children. Almost half a million jobs have gone with those left doing far more for far less.

2. The current government offer leaves most workers with pay worth almost 20% less than in 2010.

3. Falling pay also means loss of pension for the rest of these low paid workers lives.

4. Another pay cut won’t save jobs – despite a pay freeze, jobs have gone and services continue to be stripped to the bone, privatised or stopped all together. There’s no reason to believe a pay cut will stop this.

5. Low pay is bad for workers and bad for the economy. That’s why politicians from all parties are calling for an end to low pay. Many local government workers rely on benefits to pay bills. Right now, the taxpayer is subsidising local government to pay poverty wages.

6. Paying all local government workers a living wage will boost Treasury coffers by around £0.9bn every year from increased tax and national insurance take – shifting many off in-work benefits and reducing the bill to taxpayers.

7. Over 100 councils already pay the living wage. If these councils can afford it, why can’t every local authority? Our claim would make the living wage the minimum pay rate for every council and school support worker.

8. The UK is the 7th richest nation on earth, surely we can afford good social care, housing and libraries while paying workers a living wage?

9. Councils have got over £19bn in the bank. Some of that could be spent on paying a decent wage, which would give workers more money to spend on local goods and services, helping local businesses and creating jobs.

10. The pay and conditions of local government workers are the worst in the public sector  from top to bottom. It can’t carry on.

11. One of the biggest programme of cuts and privatisation in public and welfare spending since the Second World War is well underway and starting to have serious even fatal consequence for lower, and middle incomes.

12. Suicide rates among the unemployed are climbing whilst central government forcing councils to implement the dreaded bedroom tax  some people with disabilities are having their benefits stopped for no apparent reasons in which time they face debts, poverty and the possibility of homelessness.

13. Child benefits, educational grants, family credits, pensions, and social facilities are under attack by this coalition in the mean time our libraries, youth centres and fire stations are closing down.

14. Our education system is being hammered and privatisation contractors are creeping in from the backdoor who has been given a free rein to loot the best services like our NHS to gain massive profits at the expense patient care.

15. Moreover, as social services disappear the cost of living is going up whilst public sector pay are stagnating and in some cases going down. Unemployment and underemployment are endemic. Over 10% of workers and 25% of young people are unemployed and many more can’t find work that pays enough to live on.

16. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment at a time of crisis how many success governments both previous and present continues with the blame game ie it’s Conservatives or Labour fault yet they both forget it’s the voters who all suffers. The problem is not one of “limited resources” since 2008 crash bankers and their excessive bonuses have become the targets of much anger. It certainly easy to hate and blame immigrants for the politicians fault who gambles with our economy but we must be careful not to mistake a symptom for a cause.

17. Regulation could not have prevented the crash. “Sensible, regulated banking practices” inevitably lead to fevered speculation as production outstrips consumption and market contact. In my opinion there is no such thing as capitalism without crisis; no such thing as capitalism without crisis and collapse.

18. The establishment have made it clear what their intentions are they hope to pass the burden of their latest crisis onto the backs of the voters through austerity and war saving their fortunes and their system at our expense. They do not give a monkeys what catastrophic effects their self preservation strategies have on the planet let alone of humanity.

What a cheek from David Cameron, and Francis Maude to say that the ballots were not valid lets not forget the 11% pay raise that Members of Parliament enjoy whilst the likes of teachers, dinner ladys, firefirers, local government employees gets a 1% increase. Furthermore the elections did not get 50% of the voters. So we don’t need no lessons from both ministers who are well off with their 11% increase and living in their mansions. What the this coalition should be doing is to bring in the mansion tax which this coalition will not touch with a bargepole.

Yet Almost half of UK managers work an extra day of unpaid overtime per week, a study into working practices has suggested.

Work pressures and easy access to email through smartphone technology leave over 90% of managers working outside contracted hours, the study found.

Around 13% of managers work two days unpaid overtime per week, the Institute of Leadership and Management said.

“When you add up all the skipped lunch breaks, early morning conference calls and after hours emails you see just how widespread the extra hours culture is within UK business,” said ILM chief executive Charles Elvin.

“Of course, all organisations face busy periods when employees will feel motivated to work above and beyond their contractual hours.

“But excessive hours are not sustainable – there are only so many times you can burn the midnight oil before your performance, decision making and wellbeing begin to suffer,” he added.

An online survey of 1,056 ILM members found that 76% routinely work late in the office or at home, 48% regularly work through their lunch-break, and more than one third work at weekends.

Smartphone technology has added to pressures to work, with some managers “obsessively” checking email outside of office hours, Mr Elvin said.

“We all know how stressful it can be to receive an urgent late night email when you feel compelled to respond immediately,” he said.

Research body the Work Foundation said that overwork can lead to underperformance.

“When you work excessive hours this can lead to employee burnout, increased stress, depression and physical illnesses,” said Zofia Bajorek from the Work Foundation.

However, if smartphones are used to allow flexible working hours, this can support the organisation, the employee and the customer, she added.

The employers’ organisation the CBI said that businesses investing in employee wellbeing “is not only the right thing to do, but it also has real business benefits.”

“Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business,” said Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills.

“Businesses are looking at how they can work with employees to manage workload and we’re already seeing many firms focusing on health management and building employee resilience to help keep their staff happy and healthy.”

Around two thirds of UK managers feel under pressure to work extra hours from their employers, the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) said.

 

 

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3 responses to “Some thoughts why so many went on strike

  1. Pingback: Some thoughts why so many went on strike

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