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Strikes: Unions will coordinate strike action if government doesn’t discuss pay -TUC

Strikes: Unions will coordinate strike action if government doesn’t discuss pay -TUC


How long do you think this disruption that we’re all seeing by public sector workers is going to last morning Jonathan well I think the answer to the question really lies at the doors of number 10 and number 11 down the streets I think these strikes could end tomorrow the government was prepared to have serious sensible discussions about.

Pay with our public sector at unions but so far the government has refused to negotiate refuse to to compromise so I think that the the answer to that question really does lie with Missy sunak and with Jeremy Hunt and with other cabinet ministers the last thing that any public sector worker wants to do over Christmas or into 2023 is to.

Take strike action it’s a very difficult thing to do people lose pay they can’t deliver the services that they’re proud to deliver day in day out but they feel they’ve got no alternative and it’s really now down to the government to step up to the plate and negotiate and yet the strikes are continuing especially over the crucial Christmas.

And New Year periods do you think we are going to see synchronized strikes in 2023 well as I say the decision to take strike action is a very difficult decision no one takes it lightly and I think we’ve got a responsibility as a TUC and as as unions that when workers do take that difficult decision we.

Support them as much as possible and that means in some circumstances coordinating industrial action and and that makes sense for example for NHS unions to talk to each other for teaching unions to talk to each other but you know underlying all of these disputes is the fact that each of those public sector workers whether they’re.

Paramedics or teachers or firefighters or physiotherapists have had a real terms pay cut this year and it really is time for the government to do the right thing by their own Workforce to do the right thing by our public services and sit down and negotiate a fair settlement on pay um Mark so what the General Secretary of.

The pcsu uh said to Skye yesterday it’s only a matter of time before we coordinate strikes he seems to think it’s definitely going to happen um is that fair comment well I think Mark was also very clear that that the government has the responsibility to end these strikes and could end the strikes if they sat around.

The table and negotiated with our unions but as I said Jonathan our unions will be talking continuing to talk into the new year about how we best support and coordinate unions that are taking that strike action in some cases that may mean Uni’s taking strike action on the same day in other cases it’ll be a rolling wave of industrial action the.

Key thing is we need to resolve these disputes and we need to find a way forward on pay and that’s only going to happen if the government sits down and negotiates this has happened in the private sector we’ve seen unions taking industrial action in the private sector and winning really important pay Rises for workers whether they be bus drivers.

Or baggage handlers or outsourced cleaners Now’s the Time for the government to learn that private sector example and talk to unions yeah you see the problem for for members of the public and people watching this program is that many do have sympathy with workers who are really struggling like they are with this cost of living crisis.

But when they hear threats of potential what look might look like a general strike you may well lose a lot of that support well I think the British public are very clear whose responsibility or who’s responsible for these strikes two-thirds of the public field the government is mishandling uh the the strikes and.

Frankly if you if you put up Richie sunak Jeremy Hunt and Steve Barkley against our nurses our paramedics our firefighters and our posties I know we decide the British public is on I think that the public knows the way you resolve these strikes is to sit down and reach a compromise and a fair settlement on pay the only people who don’t seem to.

Realize that at the moment are the governments and I think they need to listen to the British public they need to listen to unions and they need to listen to the public sector workers employers who should be sitting down it’s not the government well well certainly in the Public.

Services uh the government is the employer they’re the ones who hold the pair strings and likewise on our Railways we know for a fact and we know partly because the TUC and the rmt launched an uh uh published a legal opinion on this that the government sets the parameters uh for those pay negotiations in rail so the government.

Can’t wash its hands and pretend it has nothing to do with this they are the employers they’re the ones who see sitting around the table they’re the ones who need to find money uh to pay a decent pay rise of public sector workers can you see it can you see a time in the next few days the next few weeks where you Marx maybe Matt rack has been.

Speaking to us this morning actually all sit down all have a conversation about how you can inflict the most amount of pain yeah well it’s not about inflicting the most amount of pain you’re going to get hurt isn’t it isn’t that what strike actions no because I no it’s about getting the employer to.

Listen to the to the to the real issues and concerns of of their own Workforce and it won’t just be uh matter Mark there’ll be people like Christina McAfee from Eunice and Sharon Graham uh from unite all of our Public Service unions have an interest in this and it’s important to make the point as well remember our members are members of the.

Public it’s our members who use the trades uh who use hospitals who send their kids to the state schools and quite often it’s members of the cabinets who are insulated from those services so the last thing we want to do is cause any disruption whatsoever but we do need the government to listen to the concerns of their own Workforce just those.

Private sector employees have done so over the course of the last few months there’s a way forward here on pay but it’s going to require the government uh to step up to the plate be mature and enter into a dialogue if the government if employers were to give everyone a double-digit pay rise that is going to fuel inflation isn’t it.

And it’s going to make life a lot worse for so many people who are already struggling with the cost of living in crisis we don’t want it to last longer than it’s going to yeah but but there is absolutely no evidence at all that it’s the pay of nurses paramedics and teachers that drive an inflation in this country I.

Mean I wish the government was as concerned about what’s happening to profit so profits up 31 last year alone dividends handed out to shareholders Rising three times faster than wages a bump a year for bonuses in the city of London and a government that decided to lift the cap on Bankers bonuses they’re very clear political choices and they’re.

Choices that don’t work for working people their families and communities so let’s do the right thing by those who are delivering our Public Services let’s make sure they’ve got money in their pockets that they can afford to pay those heating bills to fill the car to pay for the weekly food shop the rental mortgages these are the real pressures.

Our members of under and you know when over a course of hospitals in this country have food banks for their own staff the government has to acknowledge there’s an issue there’s a problem here and it’s one that they’ve got a responsibilities to solve but it’s whether or not strike action is actually working we’ve seen the military uh seem.

To be doing a pretty good job standing in for Border Force officials averting uh delays at our airports and certainly many people now have got used to working from home and not taking the train into the office they’ve sort of shrugged their shoulders and they’re just getting on with life is there an argument that actually a lot of this strike action.

Isn’t really getting the message that you want to cross I I don’t think that that argument Stacks up at all and to be honest with you the reason why people are going through our borders so easily is because those military payers now don’t have the powers to stop people at our borders and effectively the government has decided.

It’s going to open the board isn’t it I think rather than getting the uh Army to cover the jobs of Border Force officials or indeed ambulance drivers and paramedics the government will be far better sitting down and negotiating the solution to this set of disputes with unions at the end of the day I I can say this right from the bottom of my heart.

There isn’t a single member of the public sector Workforce that wants to be taking strike action this Christmas all of those workers themselves why are they doing why are they doing on crucial days though why are they destroying people’s businesses destroying people’s New Year plans after we’ve all had two really difficult years.

Over the festivities because of covid why choose those days to make your point well the reality is our rail service is often shut down over the Christmas period anyway for engineering works and actually the industrial action is hitting those engineering Works rather than the traveling public but I don’t.

Know if you’ve been on the train lately Jonathan because I certainly have and it doesn’t matter whether there’s industrial action or not we have got a broken Railway system in this country it’s a privatized fragmented rail system that’s the real reason our trains are canceled and don’t run on time so you know honestly.

I I I’m not interested in driving a wedge between different groups of working people our members are members of the public they rely on those services and I think they have at the very least should be treated with respect by the government to have their voices listened to and have their genuine issues and concerns addressed by.

Governments that frankly is overseeing chaos on our rails in our hospitals in our schools it’s not good enough for service users it’s not good enough for staff and it’s not good enough for the public you’ve just started your new job I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to speak to the leader of the opposition yet but do you feel you’re getting.

Enough support from secure Starman he doesn’t want labor front benches on picket lines does he yeah I’m not really interested in whether or not labor front benches Turn Up For a selfie on a picket line what I’m interested in is in labor being an effective opposition and being a potential uh alternative government and.

Going into an election on a Manifesto that that matters that talks about the issues that matter to the people that I represent so when labor says they’re going to ban ban fire and rehire so that we have no more piano style seconds when labor says it’s going to ban zero hours contracts and when labor says if the government brings forward more.

Legislation to make it harder for people to take strike action they’ll repeal that legislation that to me sounds like a good starting point for a future labor government and one that actually responds to the issues and concerns of working people do you stand by your language that you’ve been using in recent days that.

The government is sabotaging uh any chance of sorting this mess out yeah well I feel that they have been sabotaging it right from our Railways where initially uh Minister said they had no responsibility for those negotiations at all then had to fess up that actually they did have a responsibility they threw in conditions.

At the last minute I think they’d scope of the deal a rail that was within grass a few weeks ago but but look at look at what happened last week in the Health Service in the midst of a pay dispute Stephen Barkley the health secretary said he’d talk about anything with unions except pay I mean that just doesn’t make sense whatsoever and I.

Think it’s a real uh slap in the face for those those NHS staff who just felt they had no alternative but to take strike action so Now’s the Time for governments uh to not act as a barrier to a settlement but to actually facilitate the settlement and the only way they’re going to do that is by sitting around the table and reaching a.

Compromise and reaching an agreement all right uh we are out of time we’ll see what the new year brings Paul Novak new boss of the TUC thank you very much

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