“We all rely on our public services,” say unions


Unions that did not go out on strike yesterday have given their support to those who did.

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “We support our colleagues in the public sector in their fight for fair and decent pensions and to protect the services which our members rely on.

“Tuesday’s Autumn Statement exposed the complete failure of the Tory-led coalition’s economic policies, yet instead of changing course the Chancellor stubbornly prescribed more of the same and condemned the country to many more years of self-defeating cuts and austerity.

“The economy is flat-lining, unemployment is rising, incomes are shrinking and the result of all this pain turns out to be not less government borrowing but a staggering £158 billion more. The situation next year is predicted to be worse still and there is clearly little prospect of relief from the current crisis in demand and consumer confidence.

“Public sector jobs losses are now set to spiral to 710,000, sucking even more demand out of the economy and the pretence that front-line services will be unaffected is frankly laughable. The cuts previously announced are already set to take 16,000 police officers and 1,800 PCSOs off our streets.

“While we are aware that the industrial action will cause disruption for our members, for example those unable to make alternative childcare arrangements, we expect employers to treat these situations sensibly and where necessary allow staff the flexibility to take holiday or to rearrange or make up any lost hours at a later date. We do not expect any of our members to lose pay as a result of today’s industrial action.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stansistreet said: “Whenever NUJ members are on strike, we are always overwhelmed by the support and solidarity of our sister unions.

“We are proud to support the millions of colleagues taking action in the biggest public sector strike in history. This is a pensions robbery pure and simple – the cynical act of a government determined to make ordinary workers pick up the tab for an economic crisis of the bankers’ making.

“Many joint NUJ members, for example those who work as lecturers and press officers, are part of this battle and were on strike. NUJ chapels across the UK held special workplace meetings to show solidarity for workers on strike throughout the public sector and many more attended local picket lines and rallies to demonstrate their support.

“When our National Executive Council met last month, it reminded journalists of their responsibility to report on the dispute ethically. The NEC called on editors across the media to ensure that coverage of the strikes on November 30 is accurate and balanced.”

Members of the RCN also supported the strike, although they were not striking themselves, as did members of the FBU, who were visible on marches and at rallies across the country.

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