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Coalition facing huge public sector strikes

Following yesterday’s decision by council and school support staff to strike on July 10 after voting in favour of industrial action in a row over pay, the coalition is facing the prospect of the largest wave of strike action to be taken since it came into office.

With the GMB and Unite unions expected to announce the results of strike ballots in the coming days, and the National Union of Teachers already announcing a strike on 10 July, the scale of the industrial action would be unprecedented within this parliament.

Unison said that almost 85,000 workers - mainly low-paid women - voted yesterday and more than 58% backed the strike. About 410,000 workers had the chance to vote.

Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, said: “These workers care for our elderly, clean our streets, feed and educate our school children and keep our libraries running, but they receive no recognition in their pay packets.

“They are mainly low-paid women workers, stressed and demoralised, and they deserve better from their employers and from this government.”

Responding to the Unison announcement a Local Government Association spokesman said it is “disappointing” that Unison will be proceeding with strike action.

They added: “Local government staff have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory and we have no doubt that many will still be at work on the day of strike action.

“The pay offer we have made would increase the pay of most employees by 1% while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than 4%. This is the fairest possible deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford. This strike will not change the pay offer we have made, but it will mean those who take part lose a day's pay.”

(Image: c. Chris Radburn/PA)

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