Unison chief vows strikes over public sector pay will continue

The head of the UK’s largest public sector union has vowed that protests against government pay policies will last at least another 12 months.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told Personnel Today that failure to secure an above-inflation salary increase for public sector workers would lead to ongoing hostilities.

“The government isn’t just our government, it’s our employer too, so it has to sort out public service pay policy,” said Prentis. “If it doesn’t, it will lead to conflict throughout the coming year.”

Last month, Unison members at local authorities took part in a two-day strike after rejecting a below-inflation pay offer of 2.45%. Tomorrow (20 August) members of the union working at Scottish Borders Council will take part in 24-hour action over the same issue.

Prentis also said the government needed to halt the privatisation of public services.

“Commissioning [private sector firms] may bring about cheaper public services in the short term, but it will never ever bring about the quantum leap in quality that the government will need before it goes into the next election,” he said.

He added that other unions would soon join the fight for equal pay between men and women.

“This will soon be a major issue in the private sector,” he said.

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