We had an extraordinarily successful day of industrial action yesterday. The call for action was heard across the region – and what a response! We estimate that 70% of Council buildings were closed in the North West. There were examples of non-members joining the union on picket lines to take part in the action. There were high profile and well-attended picket lines in key workplaces, and lots of public support for our strike. The rallies around the region all went well and visibly demonstrated the scale of the action in the heart of many towns and cities across the region.
There was overwhelming support from members and the public for making a stand on pay. This is in no small part due to the efforts of branches in getting our message across. It’s never easy for our members to go on strike. They are dedicated to their work and cannot give up a day’s pay lightly. So I know that to get a successful day like yesterday would have required many conversations with individual and groups of members to give them the encouragement and reassurance needed to take part. It’s great testament to the efforts of branches that the strike was so well-observed.
After yesterday, the Government and our employers can’t doubt our resolve to get a fair deal on pay. But yesterday is not the end point. We need to gear up for the likelihood of further action being necessary to force a change in their position. We mustn’t get deflected by their red herring around balloting arrangements. The truth is that public sector workers are at the end of their tether. We can’t go on with poverty pay and we don’t believe that a decent pay rise is unaffordable. It’s time for the Government and the employers to pay up.