Unite Union warns of co-ordinated strike action

 
Public sector strike in London An estimated 1.5 million people went on strike in November 2011 over public sector pension reforms

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The leader of the UK's largest union has warned that there could be more co-ordinated strikes in response to the government's spending cuts.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite Union, said he would support calls for strikes which could take place within months.

"There is a real chance of co-ordinated action, if not this winter then certainly early next year," he said.

Mr McCluskey was speaking ahead of the TUC Congress in Brighton this weekend.

Delegates are expected to hear repeated calls for co-ordinated industrial action - like that seen over the issue of pensions during the past year.

'Support action'

An estimated 1.5 million people went on strike on 30 November last year to protest over reforms to public sector pensions.

Hundreds of thousands of people also marched through London in March 2011 to highlight the need for an alternative approach to the economy.

Mr McCluskey says such action could happen again, but this time linked to issues including pensions, jobs and pay.

"We would certainly support calls for co-ordinated industrial action on pay and indeed other issues," he said.

"It was never going to be one single march on 26 March, or indeed one dispute over pensions - it was always going to be an ongoing fight."

'Paying the price'

Mr McCluskey is expected to address the congress on Monday. He will call for a £1 increase in the national minimum wage to boost the economy by giving lower paid workers more spending power.

He will also call for a cap on energy bills to help struggling families.

Mr McCluskey said he believed strike action was "inevitable". He said that the timing of any industrial action would be down to union members.

"This government is intent on trying to make… ordinary working people pay the price for a crisis that they didn't cause," he said.

"I think it is inevitable, as workers get more and more angry and frustrated as to the pressures on them, both in the private and the public sector, that there will be a demand for them to take industrial action.

"I see the issue of strikes and continuing protests actually increasing as we move closer and closer towards a general election."

Mr McCluskey has previously called for civil disobedience in response to government cuts.

The Unite union, which has 1.5 million members, was at the heart of the tanker drivers' dispute earlier this year, which resulted in panic buying on petrol-station forecourts.

The union also threatened to disrupt public transport during the Olympics over the issue of a bonus payment for London bus drivers.

 

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  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 646.

    The Unions very existence depends on the public sector. The less public sector jobs = less Union members = less membership payments = smaller & less powerful Unions = Hooray for everyone!

    Unions are the epitome of self serving, ignorance who care for nobody apart from themselves. They do not believe in the greater good for the UK unless it involves their members getting more than everyone else!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 447.

    The unions should do what the Labour party are doing right now, say very little and wait until the May 2015 general election.

    The electorate won't vote for austerity a second time around.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 445.

    Well the last ones no one cared about did they! But do carry on save us a days pay for your pockets. While in the process making the public despise you. Gold plated pensions, too high pay, and the arrogance to demand more. Greedy bonus seeking for olympics, rich tanker and train drivers, despised unions and those in them. Other countries had proper pay cuts for PS workers. Time we did.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 259.

    Posters are making reference to strike action taking place with 30 % of votes and that the law should be changed to prevent this. Let's not forget that Cameron's baffoons only got 36% of the vote in 2010. What's good for the goose............!

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 252.

    Striking is SO last century. Transport workers: instead of just disrupting the lives of the rest of us by having a silly march, why not turn up for work as normal but refuse to take money from the public? That way, the only people who actually lose is your employer, who you are actually protesting against, instead of the public, who you need on your side.

 

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