Thursday, 17 November 2011

Unite union members vote 3-1 in favour of pensions strike

    Public Sector Workers Take Part In National Strike Action Over Pension Cuts
    Public sector workers march through Bristol in June in protest at planned cuts to pensions. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
    Members of the UK's biggest union have voted by 3-1 to join the public sector pensions strike at the end of the month. Unite said 75% of those who took part in a strike ballot said yes to taking part in the day of action on 30 November in protest at the government's pension reforms. Unions representing workers ranging from refuse collectors and school dinner staff to headteachers and government lawyers have already backed industrial action. The walkout is billed to be the biggest day of industrial unrest since the 1979 "winter of discontent". Probation officers have voted by more than 4-1 to join the pensions strike, the National Association of Probation Officers said. Unite said the turnout in its ballot, which covered more than 200 employers, was 31%. Workers in Mersey Tunnels, Greater Manchester Transport, Glasgow city council, Scottish Water, West Midlands police authority, Northern Ireland bus services, Cardiff buses, the British Film Institute, the British Museum and South Yorkshire police were among those backing strikes. The union said its vote should heap further pressure on the government to rethink its plans to "force" public sector workers to pay more and work longer, in return for a poorer pension in retirement. The Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: "Yet again public sector workers are telling the government that enough is enough. They have endured wages cuts, rising living costs and horrific job losses, as this government forces the less well-off in this country to pay for the sins of the elite. They are not prepared to stomach this attack on their pensions too. "This is the courageous defence of their savings by the backbone of this country, the people who day in, day out, care for our young, our frail, our elderly, our homes, streets and parks – the people who, after decades of loyal service to this nation, will be lucky to have £5,600 per year to live on. "One in five people in this country – some 12 million adults – either pay into or are in receipt of a public sector pension. Now this government wants to take that away from them, forcing families to find in many cases hundreds of pounds more per month for their pension, at a time when simply making ends meet is so tough." taken from

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