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Biggest Strike For 100 Years – Union Chief

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jun/18/biggest-strike-100-years-union

The leader of the largest public sector union promises to mount the most sustained campaign of industrial action the country has seen since the general strike of 1926, vowing not to back down until the government has dropped its controversial pension changes.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison – which has 1.4 million members employed by the state – described plans for waves of strike action, with public services shut down on a daily basis, rolling from one region to the next and from sector to sector.

He said there was growing anger over a public sector pay freeze that could trigger more disputes further down the line and that the changes would unfairly penalise women, who form the majority of low-paid public sector workers. "It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won't be the miners' strike. We are going to win."

In an interview with the Guardian, Prentis – who also chairs the public sector group at the TUC – repeatedly insisted that he still hopes to negotiate a settlement with the government through talks that are currently under way.

But the prospect of a resolution looks increasingly remote after the government unilaterally set out details of the new public sector pension scheme on Friday, pre-empting the conclusion of the talks. Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, called the move "deeply inflammatory".

Prentis said: "I strongly believe that one day of industrial action will not change anyone's mind in government. We want to move towards a settlement. The purpose of industrial action is not industrial action, it is to get an agreement that is acceptable and long-lasting. But we are prepared for rolling action over an indefinite period. This coalition has got to open its eyes and see that in just reacting to a Daily Mail view of the public sector they are walking into a trap of their own making."

Prentis also called on the Labour party to support the unions' battle against the pension changes, saying that remaining silent will "become an issue".

The government has confirmed that it will raise pension contributions by 3.2 percentage points, increase the retirement age to 66 and move to a career average scheme to replace the more generous final salary version. Ministers argue it is unfair for other taxpayers to pay for more generous schemes for public employees than they might get in the private sector.

The unions say it amounts to an additional tax on public sector workers, with their additional contributions – a de facto pay cut – being used to reduce the deficit rather than fund pensions. It comes on top of job cuts, a pay freeze and controversial plans such as those for the NHS.

Prentis said that while pensions were the focus of the unions' industrial dispute – and the only issue that they could legally jointly strike on – his members were equally angry about the coalition's deficit reduction programme and its effects on the public sector.

"You can't just look at what's happening around pensions as a single issue. All our members provide public services. You look at what this coalition has decided to do to reduce the deficit and it's decided that most of the deficit reduction programme will be at the expense of our public services," he said.

"The people that we represent are facing redundancy, a two-year pay freeze, while inflation is 5% and gas prices are going up 20%, and they are desperately worried about privatisation of the services they have committed their working lives to."

He accused the government of trying to "soften up" public sector workers' rights to pave the way to privatising elements of the state. Referring to a consultation that could remove state employees' rights to keep their public sector pensions if their service is outsourced to the private sector, he said: "It means that cowboys that we used to have in the 1980s can put in bids that will always undermine the public service bid and they will get the contract not on the quality of work but because they are cheapest. It's just to soften the way for privatisation."

Turning to Labour, to which Unison is affiliated – individual members have an opt-out – he said: "We want our Labour party to be the voice of opposition. We're worried that some of the senior people in the party still have to make statements as if they are in power, not opposition."

Prentis added: "I've got a lot of time for Ed Miliband. He's new, he's only been there for eight months and he will improve – and we've got to give him time to do that – but the way in which certain elements in the party are not uniting where we need them to be is not helping. If the Labour party stays quiet that will be an issue. This isn't a kneejerk reaction, this will be a long programme of action and we will expect the Labour party to support that."

more threats, demands for theft and illogical chicanery at the link...

Here we go.

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Here we go.

Go ahead make my day...

Unfortunately this means you're correct yet again, i.e. Labour will win by a landslide and will seize control of the magic printing press. Harare here we come.

Edited by ken_ichikawa

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I wonder if anyone will notice if the public sector all go on strike.

You certainly will, they control everything important in the economy.

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You certainly will, they control everything important in the economy.

Brewery Pish up..... Can't and organise.

At which private individuals make do and make alternative plans some of which are remarkably sucessful. At which billy club copper comes and 'protects' the state sponsored monopoly on whatever activity this is.

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You certainly will, they control everything important in the economy.

what?

I can only think of bin collection and roads, everything else the state touches is a total joke.

Edited by KingBingo

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They should all go out on a proper strike; for as long as it takes, like the miners. If they really believe in their cause they would. Let's us see that they are worth their salaries and pensions.

And what if the legions of unproductive public sector workers are just tools of the banksters? Seems like a small price for them to pay to continue their evisceration of the economy. My guess is whatever the big public sector union is, Unison is it?, will get what they ask for and then the oligarchs can fight a one front war against what remains of the middle class.

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You certainly will, they control everything important in the economy.

Including half the private sector ;-) ......via funny litle spin offs

I work in the public sector and these parasitic private companies that feed off state money make us look ultra-efficient. Preoceduralisticbullcarappers they are. But THEY claim to be efficient.

Funny old world init.

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You certainly will, they control everything important in the economy.

they also have momba mortgages

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Go ahead make my day...

Unfortunately this means you're correct yet again, i.e. Labour will win by a landslide and will seize control of the magic printing press. Harare here we come.

Don't sound so glum about it Ken, that would be fantastic news. Things need to get worse before they get better. And the more currency debasement, the betterer! B)

Edited by General Congreve

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Is it just me that thinks of union "chiefs" as overpaid fatcats who literally have only one trick - Strike!

To be honest it's pure laziness on the part of the unions, they've simply proved that they have had no intelligent discourse on this with their members on something which has been warned about for years. Plenty of time to have planned if not a complete solution, at least some form of intelligent counter argument. But no, it's the old 20th century thinking - unproductive, dull and typically British.

Almost makes you want to defect.

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Don't sound so glum about it Ken, that would be fantastic news. Things need to get worse before they get better. And the more currency debasement, the betterer! B)

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They could have mined years of 2000A.D. greatness to make an excellent piece of cinema. Instead they come up with instantly forgettable shite with Sylvester Stallone as the lead. FFS!

Edited by General Congreve

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They could have mined years of 2000A.D. greatness to make an excellent piece of cinema. Instead they come up with instantly forgettable shite with Sylvester Stallone as the lead. FFS!

Now being redone with Karl Urban in the role it seems.

Perhaps the police will be given Judge like powers to take on the strikers?

(See, I'm making the effort to bring things back on topic. :) )

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They could have mined years of 2000A.D. greatness to make an excellent piece of cinema. Instead they come up with instantly forgettable shite with Sylvester Stallone as the lead. FFS!

Can't sleep old pal.....................Or checking your vault.....................................

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I wish the govt would just stop encouraging pensions. Stop bothering with them altogether. There's nothing good about them.

Agreed, I wont get one so.....

I dont mind paying for the old timers now that would be screwed if pensions were scrapped but I dont see why I should pay for everyone elses until I reach 70 or 80 or whatever it will be then.

It is a pyramid scheme destined to fail because even with an open door policy the base layer is not wide enough to support the layers above.

State pensions should be phased out according to how long people would have left to male their own arrangements eg 60 year olds now would get 90-95% of the pension because they still have time to save a bit, 50's could get 75% etc etc.

I fail to understand how the public sector workers are getting irate about being asked to work until the same age as the real and productive workers will. I dont see them getting much support or sympathy if they strike and it will likely just make things more sour.

The miners failed and they had public support on their side when they started, civil servants and teachers have no hope.

Edited by Number79

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The strike won't last long as they are all mortgaged up to the eyeballs.

I was just about to add this. People have snookered themselves with debt and no savings. They can talk all they want about indefinite strike action but without wages rolling in to cover the bills they won't last long.

The unintended consequence of opting for a life of debt slavery. People need to stop selling their soul to the devil banksters.

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It's all posturing.. Theyre on a weaker footing than during the miners strike because there's no private sector support for the cause, having been shafted themselves in their pensions and their wages recently and consider the public sector bloated and overpaid.

If it wasn't for the left wing media (BBC & Guardian) whipping things up it'd barely register with anyone else.

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The strike won't last long as they are all mortgaged up to the eyeballs.

.....which they won't be able to pay if they don't get the pensions.

Getting the workers into debt to control them is a good idea, unless they work it out. Then they realise it was all a con and make preparations to sort the problem out.

This isn't posturing, they won't back down, you WILL miss them when they don't turn up to work and perhaps most crucially, the state cannot afford the drop off in tax revenues that would occur with prolonged strike action.

There is, however, the possibility of the civil contingencies act, which means we are off to dictatorland, do not pass go and do not collect £200. It's not unheard of for the banksters to have union leaders threatened, woken up at 3 am by the security services and imprisoned for nowt, have them vanish entirely off the face of the earth etc in other countries. Not a strong possibility right now I think, but also on the table.

I'd also look for a lot of these guys to rock up on certain well known bankers lawns to protest - after all they are the ones who make the decisions and everyone knows it now.

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It's all posturing.. Theyre on a weaker footing than during the miners strike because there's no private sector support for the cause, having been shafted themselves in their pensions and their wages recently and consider the public sector bloated and overpaid.

If it wasn't for the left wing media (BBC & Guardian) whipping things up it'd barely register with anyone else.

They don't need popular support, just to threaten the tax take.

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They don't need popular support, just to threaten the tax take.

I don't understand, they won't get paid while they strike, the gov't will save money, how are they threatening the tax take

It's almost comical, 'we're going to be paid less so we're going to take unpaid leave to complain about it'

When they do this, any public sympathy they had will evaporate when parents have to male alternative arrangements for their schooling kids

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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