Reposted from the Guardian
I’m not a big lover of strikes, but when you are dealing with a bone headed government like the one we’ve got at the moment, who refuse to listen to concerns and discuss issues, then it seems there is little else you can do.
The government is this week facing up to the prospect of the biggest strike since the coalition came to office amid growing anger over pay restraint in the public sector.
The UK’s biggest trade unions are balloting hundreds of thousands of council workers in England and Wales in protest at an offer worth 1% for most staff.
Unison will announce the result of its ballot on Monday, followed by GMB and Unite over the next week.
The Public and Commercial Services union is also balloting its members for a strike in a long-running dispute over cuts in the civil service, with the result due by the end of the month.
If workers vote yes, there will be a one-day strike on 10 July, which the Unison leader, Dave Prentis, has predicted could be bigger than the 1926 general strike.
Members of the National Union of Teachers will also take industrial action on 10 July, while firefighters in England and Wales have staged a series of walkouts over pensions in the past year and have not ruled out further stoppages.
Midwives in England could also soon be balloted for industrial action in protest at the government’s decision not to accept a recommended 1% across-the-board pay rise for NHS staff.
Thousands of midwives and maternity support staff are being consulted on whether they want a formal ballot for action.
Jon Skewes of the Royal College of Midwives said: “Midwives are really angry that the government said to them they’d get a 1% pay rise but now only staff at the top of their pay scales will get that rise, and it’s not consolidated into their pay.
“Jeremy Hunt has picked out health workers for harsher treatment on pay than anyone else in the public sector.
“This is the time for midwives to take a stand because the government is intent on assaulting their pay and conditions.”
Other health unions are warning of ballots for industrial action, which could lead to a second wave of public-sector strikes in the autumn.
At the opening of the annual conference of the transport union RMT in Bristol, the acting general secretary, Mick Cash, reinforced calls for co-ordinated action against cuts and the threat to jobs and working conditions.
He said: “This is the first RMT AGM since the death of our general secretary, Bob Crow, but the fighting, militant organisation that was built under Bob’s leadership remains in place, as we have shown in a wave of recent disputes from London Underground to Heathrow Express and in ongoing campaigns to defend our members’ jobs, pay and working conditions.
“RMT has long argued for a policy of co-ordinated and generalised strike action that unites every group of workers threatened with the cosh of austerity and it is encouraging to see that that position is gaining traction the length and breadth of the trade union movement.”