Local government workers are taking strike action in what could be a very significant dispute 16,17th July.
Members of UNITE, UNISON, NIPSA, SIPTU, UCATT, are striking after being offered a miserable 2.5% rise, in reality a pay cut and similar offer over the next 3 years.
The leadership of Unite and Unison have come under strong pressure to take on the employers and government after years of little or no pay rises. Lets hope they stand firm and not accept another miserable, slightly better offer in order to save Gordon Brown's face. We are talking here about some of the lowest paid, mostly female workers who can barely survive on these wages. Local council, Housing Executive, Education, Fire Authority and others will be out.
The main talking point has unfortunately been the role of the GMB leadership who have refused to ballot their members, even though they are the second biggest union throughout the UK. This has caused anger and confusion. It puts them at odds with the other unions on the national negotiating body and could call into question its present existence. In Scotland they have taken a joint position with the other unions in calling for industrial action.
In Belfast City Council, they issued an unsigned notice giving out strange and false advice. They stated that if people turned up for work and found their workplace locked, they should phone their manager, say they can't get in and they will be paid! It also says if they do scab just do your "own " work.
We are calling on ordinary GMB members who were denied a ballot to vote with their feet and join us on the picket lines. Unfortunately some are trying to undermine the dispute, inspite of the Belfast City Council Group of unions, which includes the GMB calling for support for the strike.
Does anyone out there know where the GMB are coming from?