Public sector unions to ballot on strike action to defend jobs, pay and conditions


Up to ninety thousand public sector workers are to be balloted by the largest trade unions Unison and NIPSA on whether to take strike action to defend jobs, pay and conditions. Health and education workers will vote on the ballot between the 22nd August and 20 September as Unison regional secretary Patricia McKeown warns that essential services are facing "the biggest budget cuts in their history."

These include severe job loss; uncovered vacancies and unpaid overtime; pay freezes; casualisation of work by the abuse of temporary contracts and agency workers; compulsory redundancies and increased stress and health and safety risks.

The news comes after unemployment figures released from the NI Enterprise minister, Arlene Foster show that unemployment levels have increased to 1997 ceasefire levels, dispelling any illusion in a new era we were all promised.

While our trade union bosses and local politicians continue to meet for tea and biscuits, basic living costs and inflation continues to rise above wages and conditions and the gap between the richest and the rest of us increases. This is affecting all workers and unemployed, and the need to strike back collectively against our bosses and politicians by withdrawing our labour is not only necessary but vital if we are to begin to build a confident and aggressive fight back.

WORDS: Sean Matthews