Local government messages of solidarity

EPSU backs action by UK local government workers, civil servants, firefighters and teachers out on strike 10 July

EPSU sends its solidarity greetings to local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland following their vote to take industrial action in support of their pay claim. Members of GMB, UNITE and UNISON will be out on strike 10 July. Over a million local government workers experienced a three-year pay freeze between 2010 and 2012 and a below inflation pay increase last year. Taking account of inflation, local government pay is on average 18% less than it was four years ago. And this doesn’t take account of many of the cuts to overtime and other allowances that have been
imposed by local authorities. Over half a million council workers - mostly women and mostly part-timers – earn less than the living wage. EPSU believes that these workers are more than justified in rejecting the shameless 1% pay offer from the local government employers. We expect that the industrial action will bring the employers back to the negotiating table with an improved offer. Already this year we have seen warning strikes in local government in Germany and the Netherlands and the threat of strike action in local government in Norway help put pressure on employers to secure a better deal. Greek public service workers have also organised a strike on 9 July against the forced dismissal of over 6500 workers by the end of the year.

We extend our support and solidarity to the civil servants taking industrial action 10 July. These workers have also seen effective cuts in purchasing power and their employer, the UK government, refuses to negotiate a decent pay offer with the PCS union. They will be joined by the fire-fighters organised in the FBU. The firefighters are in conflict over pay, pensions and the closure of fire stations which would have an impact on their ability to react in time to emergency call-outs. Teachers organised in the NUT have also called on their members to strike on 10 July while health unions are balloting their members to take strike action in autumn. The coalition government is failing to recognise and respect the work public service workers do.

If the employers in the UK don’t budge, further action may follow. EPSU will stand with its affiliates in these actions. After years of austerity, jobs cuts, wage freezes and loss of purchasing power, Europe's public service workers deserve a pay increase. The demands of the unions are in line with EPSU's wage guidelines. Public services have kept the economy going taking in many ways including by caring for our children, the sick, the old. They have rescued and saved lives in natural disasters, flooding and fires. Public service workers provided the care for those in accidents and hospital, etc. It was not these millions of workers that caused the crisis. Why should they pay while the super-rich increase their wealth year on year? We wish the striking workers success.

In solidarity,
Jan Willem Goudriaan
EPSU General Secretary

Czech Firefighters Union

Dear friends and colleagues,

Czech Firefighters Union sends its solidarity greetings to local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland following their vote to take industrial action in support of their pay claim. Send a message to employers that you cannot go on accepting poverty pay. Members of GMB, UNITE and UNISON will be out on strike tomorrow, and we expect that the industrial action will bring the employers back to the negotiating table with an improved offer. 

The fact that members of the FBU also join this mass action confirms the motto: „Together we are stronger.“ 

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "The fact that this government has united so many workers to take strike action against them is a testament to the failure of their policies.

Our Czech Firefighters Union backs your action and we wish you success. 

Yours in solidarity,
Zdenek J. Oberreiter
Chairman of the Czech Firefighters Union
Czech Republic

PSI Public Services Union

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

#J10strike: PSI solidarity with local government staff

On behalf of Public Services International and its 20 million members, I want to assure you of our full solidarity and support for public service workers in the UK who are striking for fair pay this Thursday 10 July. We know that hundreds of thousands of public service jobs have been needlessly cut, and that remaining workers are stretched to the limit. To make matters worse, these workers are in low-wage, parttime jobs earning less than a Living Wage of £7.65 an hour.

We are proud of the work of your unions and your members to fight the policies of this government, which manipulates the ongoing financial crisis to denigrate and degrade public services and force many more workers into hardship, while allowing company bosses and bankers to reward themselves immensely.

Workers and trade unions must take the lead in stopping the growing inequality which is poisoning our countries. It requires the vision and bold action which UK unions are demonstrating. Your struggles will be shared with all PSI unions across the world, who respect your courage and leadership.

We support UNISON, GMB, PCS, Unite and FBU during this day of strike, and for the further industrial actions that may be necessary. It is time for the UK government to recognise the value of these workers, to fund Local Councils so they can pay decent wages, to stop senseless cuts and enable your members to deliver quality public services to all.

In solidarity,

Rosa Pavanelli
General Secretary

Andy Moorhouse, Branchchair Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union Branch 417 : Hovis - Wigan

To all taking action, both here in the north west and throughout the country. This is a message of support and solidarity everyone striking and supporting this action. This action isn't self-serving, 'I want more', which some will try to portray it as. You are fighting to save not just what you have, but to stop the devastation that these so-called austerity cuts will have in the very near future.   You are trying to protect the future of your services for everyone.  We are constantly told - life is not fair. We went on strike at the Wigan bakery last year, because the firm were not being fair. They would not listen Life is not fair, until we make it fair ! We went on strike and won. We made them listen. We forced a fair deal out of the firm. All you want is a fair deal, a fair idea of a future. You are not being listened too ! Striking is the only way to make them listen.  You are not just striking for yourselves and your future, but for the future of all our services. 

Andy Moorhouse 

International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles

Dear comrades,

Your strikes, on july the 10th, is an example and a great subject of hope for all of us in the world. Your country, as our countries, is facing the worst attacks and the government argue that it's because of the crisis, their crisis!

On 10 July, nearly 1.5 million council and school workers, teachers, civil servants and others will protest against the continuing public sector pay freeze. Also, the strikes are on particular issues such as pay, conditions or pensions. But the background is the continual brutal onslaught called austerity led by the Tory/Lib-Dem government, as in every where in the world.  And at the same time as council workers are striking over pay, councils including Labour are viciously cutting jobs and services and are outsourcing many services. Also, the NUT (teachers) and FBU (firefighters) will be on strike against pension reforms and cuts. Workers from Unison, PCS, Unite, GMB, NUT, FBU and NIPSA will also be on strike together. Transport for London workers as well as power control operators on London Underground will also be out on strike, that is RMT and TSSA (railway unions). 

Same story, same causes, again, in most of our countries. It will be, for sure, one of the biggest strike in the UK history. Capitalism cost us a lot, a lot too much, It's time for you and for all of us to strike back!

So, dear comrades, you can be sure that all the members of the International  labour network of solidarity and struggles support your strike. On July the 10, we will all be with you! Solidarity with all the workers on strike in UK.

For the members of the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles 

Stéphane Enjalran,
Union Syndicale Solidaires
National secretary