Latest Public Sector News

18.06.12

No compensation for workers who strike

Low-paid workers who go on strike will no longer be able to recoup some of the money they lose via the tax credits system.

Currently, those earning up to £13,000 a year can claim working tax credits to top up their income, even if they take industrial action.

From next year there will be no increase in benefits if a worker’s income drops due to strike action, as part of the new Universal Credit scheme. The amount a household receives in benefits will be assessed using the normal ‘non-strike’ level of earnings.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that the current system, which effectively compensates workers when they go on strike, “creates perverse incentives”.

He added: “Striking is a choice, and in future benefit claimants will have to pay the price for that choice, as under Universal Credit, we no longer will.”

But TUC’s head of economics, Nicola Smith, told the BBC that the money workers lose in pay while taking part in industrial action was “far more significant than the small amounts of top-ups they get through the tax credits system”.

She continued: “And I think it's important that the Government recognises that, and doesn’t move ahead with this mean-spirited change that means for a few families things will be even tougher than they have to be at what will already be a very difficult time.”

A spokesman for the Unite trade union said: “This is gesture politics aimed at putting fear into vulnerable, low-paid workers to stop them from standing up for their rights against poor working conditions.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Bgiles   24/08/2015 at 11:04

So as a taxpayer I am subsidising strikers? Absurd, even more absurd is that Unite and the TUC think that I should pay people to go on strike.

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