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Public sector solidarity

The CSP's Industrial Relations Committee sends a message of support to teachers, lecturers and firefighters currently in dispute.

CSP message on 31 October university strikes

The CSP sends a message of solidarity to UK university staff striking on 31 October.

We encourage CSP members to give friendly messages of support if you are going into university or pass by picket lines on your way to and from work.

Members of UCU, Unison and Unite are taking strike action in support of fair pay.

CSP members working for UK universities have not been balloted for industrial  action and therefore cannot legally take part in the strike.

Further information and coverage:

CSP members working in the NHS

Despite enormous pressure to deliver quality services amid rising demand and an historic budget squeeze, CSP members in the NHS have faced Government attacks on their terms and conditions, pensions and pay.

Just last week the Government indicated in its evidence to the NHS pay review body that it was minded to delay the award of a below inflation 1% rise next April, unless there were further changes to Agenda for Change, fingering in particular the system of incremental progression that has just been substantially reformed to link pay more closely with performance.

In other sectors, public sector workers are facing very similar attacks from government, and like CSP members in 2011, feel they are left with no alternative but to take strike action.

Firefighters, represented by the Fire Brigades Union, are holding a march and rally in Westminster Wednesday 16 October and strike action on October 19 to protest against plans to make detrimental changes to their pensions. This will be the second strike after the industrial action on 25 September.

Teachers, represented by the NASUWT and the NUT unions, are striking Thursday October 17 in the North East, Cumbria, London, South East and South West in response to plans to undermine their pensions, pay, terms and conditions. This is the second wave of industrial action after teachers went out on strike in Eastern, Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside.

The Society’s Industrial Relation Committee discussed these current public sector disputes and agreed to communicate a message of solidarity to the teachers and firefighters.

CSP director Lesley Mercer, speaking on behalf the Industrial Relations Committee, said:

'The Government appears intent in making public sector workers pay for an economic crisis they did not cause.

'We are told by ministers that public spending must be cut.

'But there is enough money to gift tax cuts to the wealthy, to stand by while tens of billions of pounds are denied to the exchequer as large multinational companies continue to dodge their taxes, to fork out billions of pounds for a massive reorganisation of the NHS nobody wanted and the coalition said it wouldn't impose, and to pursue self-defeating austerity policies that hit the living standards of the majority and some of the most vulnerable in society.'

'Public sector workers like firefighters and teachers are campaigning for many of the same things as CSP members.

'Nobody wants to strike but, as CSP members know, there are times when you need to make a stand for your rights at work. But this is not about vested interests.

'A demoralised, overworked and - with every year of pay restraint that passes - increasingly underpaid workforce cannot deliver quality public services.

'And without decent wages - or pensions, which are simply deferred pay – there is no hope that Britain's economy will enjoy a sustainable recovery.'

Carolyn Barnes, a physiotherapist working for Southampton-based Southern Health NHS Trust whose partner has worked as a teacher in state education for a number of years, adds:

‘As physiotherapists we took strike action in November 2011 to protect our NHS pensions that were faced with the same Government proposals now being applied to teachers –work longer, pay more, get less.

‘Physiotherapists are pulling out the stops to deliver the best for patients amid a huge financial squeeze in the NHS, massive top down reorganisation and threats to Agenda for Change.

‘Teachers are in the same situation - working extremely hard to provide the best possible education for the next generation while their national pay system, terms and conditions are under attack, the state education system is in upheaval and funding is getting ever tighter.

‘Nobody wants to strike, but teachers have found themselves forced into taking industrial action, just as we were two years ago for our pensions. The government have refused to listen to reason and continue to support their rich friends, while taking from the poorest and most vulnerable, the effects of which we see in our daily work.

'It is right, as trade unionists and public sector workers facing the same challenges, that the CSP sends a message of support and solidarity to the teachers. We deserve fair pay and I don't believe we should have to pay for the problems caused by people in the banking system, who appear to be continuing with their excessive lifestyles.'

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Last reviewed

17 October 2013
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