12 Days Remaining

Wednesday 16th
posted by Luke James in Britain

THE TORIES will be hit by a fresh wave of strikes and protests in the new year from workers facing four years without a pay rise.

Chancellor George Osborne extended the public-sector pay freeze, imposed when the Tories took office in 2010, until 2019 in his summer Budget.

Unions responded yesterday by calling a campaign to break the pay cap, including “co-ordinated industrial action and mass demonstrations.”

Civil Service union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our union has a fairly simple view about this situation.

“If teachers, nurses, civil servants and council workers are all having their pay rises restricted to 1 per cent and their tax credits frozen then we should all strike together to say we are going to fight the government.”

He called for a repeat of action against pension cuts in 2011, when more than two million workers from 29 unions walked out together.

But he added: “Something is different this time.

“Imagine how we will feel, if not only are we all striking together, but the leader of the opposition and shadow chancellor of the Exchequer are supporting us at the despatch box.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonell confirmed yesterday that a Labour government would end the pay freeze and introduce a £10-an-hour minimum wage — £2 more than the £8 an hour by 2020 promised in Labour’s general election manifesto.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said it was the “first time in a decade” that Labour’s front bench has stood up for his members.

“Unison members have had to make do for too long with half-baked promises from our own politicians,” he said.

“Promising less cuts than the Tories, less privatisation than the Tories. But sisters and brothers, we don’t want less cuts than the Tories, we want no cuts to our public services.”

The PCS motion committed the TUC general council to organising a “national demonstration against austerity early in 2016.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady was reluctant to name a date for such a demonstration, saying: “We should stay light on our feet” in the fight against the Tories.