National strikes row continues

On November 30, the largest series of strikes in UK history are set to take place.

They will involve over 25 different unions around the country including UNISON, Unite, NUS and EIS. The Trades Union Congress'(TUC) website states that their Day of Action could potentially attract up to 3 million workers in the walkout.

The unions have come out in anger about the government’s plans to renegotiate pensions. Under the new proposals, public sector workers will pay more towards their pensions, work longer, and receive less when they retire.

This strike action has attracted unions historically unwilling to walk out, including the Association of Headteachers and Deputies in Scotland. The National Association of Probation Officers are also on the list and they have only gone on strike twice in the past 100 years.

The government has warned that the strikes on Wednesday could cost the country £500m and lead to job losses. The unions responded to these claims by accusing the government of “fantasy economics.” The general secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber, has said that the government is using public sector workers as scapegoats for the country’s economic problems.

The strikes were announced shortly after the government stated they were making concessions to the Unions, exempting public sector workers within 10 years of retirement, from these changes. The unions are unhappy with the government’s lack of flexibility.

Student walkouts, encouraged by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, are also planned for next Wednesday.  The collective protests mean the number of people on the streets is likely to be more than 3 million.

These demonstrations are likely to cause school closures, disrupt NHS services, border agencies, waste collection and universities.