The vote is between binmen, teachers assistants, and social workers on whether strike action should be taken in England, Wales or N Ireland

  • Over 300,000 workers have voted to strike for higher pay
  • Union Unison stated that they all should be compensated more and would like wage increases
  • Low pay raises are an indication that workers don’t feel valued in spite of the pandemic. 

More than 300,000 school and council staff from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are now voting to decide whether or not they want to strike for pay.

Unison stated that most workers including those who collect refuse and teach assistants have received a 1.75% increase below inflation, while the minimum wage earner has been paid 2.75%.

This union recommends that its members support industrial action during the election.

Unison presented a joint claim to other unions in January for a minimum 10% increase in wages for all staff working as school support or council officers.

Mike Short, Unison’s Head of Local Government, stated that the Council and School Workers have done an extraordinary job during the Pandemic. They kept schools open and provided essential services. Often at great risk for their health.

“This insufficient pay offer is a sign that they are undervalued. This is especially true when living costs have risen. These people should get the recognition they deserve and be properly rewarded.

Employers still have time to make a fair offer and avoid striking. The government should do its part and provide the funds.

Over 300,000 of the workers, who include binmen, are voting whether to strike for more pay

Over 300,000 workers (which includes binmen) are currently voting on whether they want to strike for higher wages

Rail workers are also expected to vote for strike action over transport funding in London. There have been warnings that London’s services would ‘grinding to a halt’ without long-term financial planning.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union will elect 10,000 to vote whether they want to initiate a campaign to industrialize to defend jobs, pay, and pensions.

Mick Lynch of RMT stated that Network Rail workers and employees in train operators companies might also go on strike because they are concerned about the same issues.

He stated that the union was ready to protect jobs, wages and conditions “to the hilt” during a protest at Parliament.

He said that strikes on London’s Night Tube were the “first salvo” in the campaign. He added: “This demonstration shows that attacking pensions, freezes pay and threats of services and jobs are not acceptable ways to treat London’s transportation workers, who keep the city moving during a global pandemic.”

Members of Unite, RMT, Aslef and Unite attended the protest. A number of Labour MPs were also present. The demonstration was held just days before funding for Transport for London (TfL) is decided.

A strike earlier this year by members of the GMB union saw piles of rubbish left uncollected

GMB Union members went on strike in the spring and left piles of trash behind.

Manuel Cortes is the general secretary for TSSA and has warned London public transport that without a long-term plan, it will come to a grinding halt.

“This demonstration is hugely significant because we know that our London public transport system desperately requires a long-term, proper funding arrangement from the government.

“Yet rather, ministers attack TfL budgets and services with the sole goal of undermining London’s brave transport workers who stood up to the Covid crisis on the front lines.”

Unite President Peter Kavanagh said that unions were getting ready for strike, and added: “There is no way that we will allow the decimation our members’ terms, conditions, or wages.”

Louise Haigh, her first shadow transport secretary, attended the protest and said she was standing with rail unions throughout their campaign.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London has threatened to close the Tube lines if Transport for London doesn’t receive the long-term emergency funding it requires.

A Government spokesman said: ‘We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London’s transport network through the pandemic, providing more than £4 billion in emergency funding to Transport for London.

“We will discuss additional funding needs with TfL, the Mayor and any assistance provided will be focused on getting TfL on a sustainable financial footing that is fair for taxpayers throughout the country.