750,000 walkout in first local council strike for 23 years

Public
sector unions predict that more than three-quarters of a million local council
workers are involved in today’s pay strike – the first in the sector for 23
years.

The
unions are demanding double the 3 per cent annual pay increase that has been
offered by employers.

The
unions, including the T&G, Unison and the GMB, are meeting on Friday to
plan the next round of industrial action.

Jack
Dromey, national organiser at the T&G, said: "This just strike of the
low paid, the biggest in a generation, sends a powerful message, to councillors
and Chief Executives in Town Halls and ministers in Whitehall. Poorly paid and
badly treated public servants have had enough. Our members want fair pay,
decent treatment and, quite simply, respect."

Dromey
called on Tony Blair to force councils back to the negotiating table.

"The
Prime Minister should tell the employers to return to the negotiating table and
stop trying to abdicate their responsibilities. The door has been firmly shut
in the face of the low paid. It is high time it was opened up."

By
Paul Nelson

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