CSP, FDA, Prospect and SoR all return massive “Yes” votes in ballots for pension action

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Four more unions yesterday voted to take strike action over pensions, as the November 30th Day of Action grows bigger and bigger.

Senior civil servants, physiotherapists, radiographers, engineers, scientists, managers and specialists from their prospective unions all voted “Yes” for industrial action.

Members of CSP, Prospect and SoR have said they will strike on November 30th, alongside members of AEP, ATL, Aspect, EIS, NAHT, Nipsa, NUT, PCS, UCU and UNISON. FDA members are meeting today to decide whether to join them on the same day.

In a dramatic afternoon, the first to declare its results was the FDA, whose members voted 81% to strike on a 54% turnout.

General secretary Jonathan Baume said: “This is a decisive vote for industrial action, but this ballot should not have been necessary. No one has worked harder than the FDA to seek a negotiated settlement, often in the face of government delay and procrastination.

“The FDA has only once before held a national strike ballot, and our members regard industrial action as the very last resort. So the government needs to reflect upon why senior public servants feel driven to vote to strike.

“The FDA Executive Committee will meet tomorrow, but my expectation is that we will be calling upon our members to join with millions of other public sector workers in the TUC Day of Action on 30 November. We will nonetheless continue to negotiate in good faith.”

The second union to declare was Prospect, whose members voted three to one in favour of strike action on November 30th on a turnout of 53%.

Prospect said both the vote and high turn-out reflect the deep anger among members at the government’s actions in scrapping their existing scheme and imposing higher pension contributions, a later retirement age and the switch from RPI to CPI for uprating pensions.

Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said: “This is a very healthy mandate to continue to strive for a just settlement. We do not ask members to support a strike lightly – indeed this is the first civil service-wide ballot we have held in more than 30 years.

“Its a cry from the heart of the government’s own staff for ministers to listen to their justified anger. Even at this late hour we urge th day of action on November 30th in opposition to government plans to reform the pensions of public sector workers.”

Third to declare was SoR, who returned a 83% “Yes” vote in a 58.2% turnout.

President Sue Johnson said: “It is sad that radiographers have to take industrial action to persuade the government that the pension reforms are unfair, but they feel they have no choice.

“We and the other unions will keep negotiating right up until the last minute to stop the save cuts to pensions rights.

“If we have to go ahead with industrial action, it is out intention to minimise the effect it will have on patients. Our argument is not with them, but with the government and withdrawing labour is one way we can show the depth of our anger at what the government is doing to people’s pensions.”

Finally, around 5.30pm, came the result from the CSP, whose members backed industrial action by 86%, on a turn out of 66%. It will be the union’s first strike in 31 years.

Alex MacKenzie, chair of CSP’s Industrial Relations Committee, said: “Physiotherapy staff are in the front line of caring for patients and are dedicated professionals, so this was an extremely difficult decision for them to take.

“The message from our members however was loud and clear: we need to take this action to protect our pensions.

“Our aim has always been and remains a negotiated settlement. The government has finally shown a willingness to negotiate, but the announcement two weeks ago in Parliament fell well short of an acceptable offer.”

This week sees more unions announcing the results of their strike ballots, with UCATT today, the GMB and Unite tomorrow and Napo and NASUWT on Thursday.

For the full story from each union, check out our Nov 30th page


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