Thursday 22 February 2018

UK public sector strikes to go ahead on Wednesday

Alan Jones

A MASS walkout by British public sector workers will definitely go ahead on Wednesday and could be the biggest since the 1926, a senior union leader said today.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said there was "absolutely no chance" of reaching a deal in the next few days over the Government's controversial pension reforms.

Unison has doubled its recruitment in recent weeks as a result of the dispute, he revealed.

"It could be the biggest action since the 1926 General Strike," he predicted.

More than 1,000 demonstrations will be held across the UK on Wednesday, when up to two million workers go on strike.

Mr Prentis warned of further industrial action in the new year if the dispute is not resolved.

"It could involve rolling programmes, region by region, service by service, workers within particular services - nothing is ruled out at this stage," he told a news conference in London.

Unison said Wednesday will be a "women's day of action" because of the huge numbers of women taking part.

Mr Prentis said he did not trust the Government's figures on pensions, adding that opinion polls showed the public believed unions more than ministers, and had sympathy with public sector workers.

"The public believes in the justice of our case despite the best efforts of the coalition to denigrate union leaders and public service workers."

Mr Prentis said it was "incredible" that huge bonuses will be paid in the City this Christmas given the state of the economy and the Government's "attack" on public sector pensions.

Mr Prentis said unions were not asking for more money or making "impossible" demands but were fighting the "totally unjustified" pension reforms.

Unison said applications to join the union had increased by 126pc since its strike ballot result was announced earlier this month, with 81% from women.

"The Government is trying to paint a picture of macho union leaders squaring up for a fight, but it will be mainly women public sector workers out in force on Wednesday.

"Women who are angry and feel let down by the pension changes."

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