The date of the health ballot has been announced – it will open on 28 August and run to 18 September. A yes vote will lead to stoppages in early October, followed by further strikes and action short of a strike over the Autumn and Winter.
Meanwhile, local government and school support staff are to take a second day of strike action on 14 October, after the successful action held on 10 July.
The pressure is mounting on the Government to change its policy on pay. It is going to be a busy Autumn with our industrial action – combined with that of other unions in local government, education, health and elsewhere – clearly showing that people will no longer accept year after year of falling living standards.
Another source of pressure on the Government to move away from austerity will be the demonstrations planned in Manchester on 6 September and London on 18 October. Marches and rallies complement our industrial action in ratcheting up the pressure on the Government.
Our Manchester march is important in giving an opportunity for people in the North West to show how we have been affected by austerity. We know all too well about the job losses and falling real wages in the public sector, but the march will also give an opportunity to others affected by austerity to make their voices heard. Our communities have been affected by service cuts, the disappearance of opportunities for young people, and attacks on our welfare state. It is important that we join together to highlight that ‘Austerity Wrecks Lives’.
We all know that austerity is not necessary. The Government is squandering money on tax cuts for the rich and for business. It is not that the country no longer has the resources to fund public services – it is that a political choice has been made that we should do without them. Moreover, the Government has legislated to make political protest more difficult in the run up to the general election, so we need to demonstrate now while we still can.
It’s going to be a busy Autumn for us all as we make sure that it is an uncomfortable Autumn for the Con-Dems, and hopefully their last Autumn in power.