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LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKERS VOTE TO STRIKE

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The first national strike in local government for 23 years will not put at risk life and limb nor will the dead go ...
The first national strike in local government for 23 years will not put at risk life and limb nor will the dead go unburied. The Transport and General Workers' Union national organiser and chairman of the joint trade unions, Jack Dromey, today said that emergency cover would be arranged on the strike day of Wednesday 17th July but he also repeated the unions' call for the employers to return to the negotiating table.

Mr Dromey said:

'We will not put at risk life and limb. Neither will the dead go unburied because we respect grieving families. Our members in local government care, even if their employers do not care for them.'

Mr Dromey said union representatives would now discuss emergency arrangements with local councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure cover was provided. He also echoed the calls from the T&G general secretary, Bill Morris, for the employers to return to the negotiating table.

'Sadly, the prime minister was wrong when he said he understood that talks were continuing because the door has been firmly shut in the face of the low paid,' Mr Dromey added.

'We are ready to talk but the employers are not. It seems that hardline Labour councils want to fight their employees rather than fight low pay and injustice.'

Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have voted to take strike action in support of a pay claim for 6% or£1,750.

The result - announced by UNISON, TGWU and GMB on Friday - means the first national strike since 1989 will take place on 17 July.

The employers' 'final' 3% offer had been rejected in an earlier consultative ballot of members.

UNISON's national secretary for local government, Heather Wakefield, said:

'Our members voted for industrial action because they are sick of being treated as the poor relations of the public sector. Their case for a realistic pay rise is indisputable.

'The recent GLA report into London weighting acknowledges the retention and recruitment crisis in local government and that better pay and other support is a critical factor.

'The employers should be left in no doubt that our action will continue until they return with a realistic offer.'

Further action will follow after 17 July. It will affect social services, home care, education, environmental health, housing, planning, transport, refuse collection, catering and cleaning.

Two thirds of the local government workforce earn the same average salary as the average allowance paid to council leaders (£12,403).

Press release from the T&G follows:

Local Government faces first national strike for over a decade

Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have voted

to take strike action in support of a pay claim for 6% or£1,750. The vote

announced today by the three local government unions - UNISON, T&G and GMB -

will be the first national strike since 1989. The employers' 'final' offer

of 3% had been rejected in an earlier consultative ballot of members.

A national one day strike has been called for July 17. Further action will

follow. They will affect social services, residential care, home care,

education, environmental health, housing, planning, transport, refuse

collection, catering and cleaning.

The unions have claimed a 6% or£1,750 pay rise to bring the minimum wage in

local government to£11,017 a year. Two thirds of the local government

workforce earn the same average salary as the average allowance paid to

council leaders (£12,403).

T&G national organiser, Jack Dromey, said, 'T&G members have voted by a

landslide 80% to be involved in their first national strike in local

government for 23 years. One million public servants have had enough. All

they want is fair pay, better treatment and, quite simply, respect from

their managers in town halls and ministers in Whitehall.'

GMB national secretary, Mick Graham, commented, 'Our members have sent a

very clear message that enough is enough. Local government workers

delivering a quality service deserve quality pay. The fact that local

authorities have recruitment and retention problems can only be addressed by

decent pay. Local government workers are no longer prepared to be the poor

relations of the public sector.'

London council workers have had enough

Following the publication of the Greater London Assembly Advisory Panel

report on London Weighting (see LGCnet), the Transport and General Workers' Union has

called on London councils to come back to the negotiating table on the

unions' claim for a£4,000 flat rate payment or face inevitable and

prolonged industrial action by council workers who have had enough.

T&G national organiser Jack Dromey said,

'Essential services are suffering because councils cannot recruit and retain

staff. Public servants are struggling in Europe's most expensive capital

city.

'An income of£40,000 is needed to buy a house in London - 3 times more than

the earnings of many council workers. Child care in London costs£20 more

each week than in the rest of Britain and London workers spend six hours a

week more travelling to and from work.

'No wonder the soaring costs of London living will drive 65,000 workers out

of our capital in the next decade.'

The plan is for London councils to stop work for an initial one-day strike on 17th July to be followed by selective industrial action.

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