won’t come as a big surprise to most thinking workers that a bunch of
Tory councillors sat around and made the decision to institute a pay
freeze in local government. No surprise that is because the memory of
Thatcherism is still etched on many workers minds and secondly because
with New Labour already advocating a 1% pay
ceiling on public sector pay, how were the Tories going to out do them?
Why, by offering less of course!
As the UNISON press release points out:
employer’s decision to cut our members’ pay without negotiation is a
slap in the face for hard working council employees who have kept local
communities together through the crisis.
“Two thirds already
earn less than £18k a year. Last year George Osborne, Tory shadow
chancellor said the Tories would not freeze pay for those earning in
this pay bracket, now the Tory LGA is doing just that.
members are already covering posts left vacant by wide-spread
redundancies. 75% of the workforce are women so this is an outright
attack on women’s pay. "
“We know that councils can afford an
increase. Council reserves have grown, while many have chosen to cut
their own income by freezing council tax. Our members will be outraged
by this threatened pay freeze. "
would add that the whole question of a pay freeze in local government
is nothing more than the council workers being presented with the bill
for the bail out of the banks. It’s a prime example of double
standards, we can pay the bill for a bunch of speculators and
parasites. The Tories are the ones firing the bullets through their
control of the Local Government Association, but Messrs Darling and
Brown supplied the ammunition by advocating a pay freeze in the first
UNITE and the GMB have submitted a claim for 2.5% or £500. It’s obvious
from the employers response that to get anywhere near this figure we
will need to be prepared to fight. The role of the leadership will be
vital in achieving a decent pay rise. That means unity in action from
all the unions. But it also raises the stakes in the forthcoming
General Secretary Election in UNISON which was announced on January 20th.
For a fighting democratic UNISON
is the biggest union in the sector, for many years now the leadership
of the union have been “holding the line” for Blair and Brown, given
the possibility of a Tory government, the union leaders are likely to
want to reposition themselves. How much of a difference that will make
to the pay campaign and the rest of the union’s work depends on whether
they feel the hot breath of the hundreds of thousands of members at
there is a lot of work to do in the unions to argue against the pay
freeze and also to identify a credible left candidate prepared to fight
a non sectarian campaign for a fighting and democratic UNISON. A
genuine socialist leadership in UNISON would make a huge step forward
in terms of fighting the pay freeze. But it would also fight
politically to transform the Labour Party. The right wing are utterly
discredited and they will come under enormous pressure after an