» Thursday, November 3, 2011

UNISON strike ballot

Asked what the Prime Minster’s reaction was to the UNISON vote in favour of strike action, the Prime Minister’s Spokeswoman (PMS) said the decision was disappointing, unnecessary and potentially damaging. The deal on the table was fair and affordable, and the Government would urge unions to reconsider.

Asked how the strike could be damaging, the PMS said that the strike could potentially put the delivery of public services at risk. The PMS said the strike would make things very inconvenient for members of the public. The PMS added that strikes at this time are unnecessary and particularly when families are trying to balance their budgets they will have great difficulty understanding the need for strike action.

Asked if the low turnout strengthens the case for reforms of strike laws, the PMS said there are no plans. The PMS also referred journalists to the comments of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude who said: We have listened to the concerns of public sector workers about their pensions and yesterday responded with a new generous settlement which is beyond the dreams of most private employees. I urge the trade unions to devote their energy to reaching agreement and not to unnecessary and damaging strike action. Today’s UNISON ballot received a very low turnout with less than a third of their members even voting – which shows there is extremely limited support for the kind of strike action their union leaders want. But it is extremely disappointing that some union members are still planning to lose a day’s pay and go on strike.

In answer to further questions about why Government isn’t looking at reforming strike laws, the PMS replied that there are no plans to look at the laws and that it was important that unions looked at the deal on the table which is fair and affordable.

Asked if the Government could consider legal action to prevent a strike, the PMS said that there are laws that allow strikes and that the Government is appealing to the unions to look at the deal on the table.

Asked if the unions should re-ballot as the offer has changed, the PMS said that was a matter for the unions.

Asked if the new offer on public sector pensions could be withdrawn if strikes go ahead, the PMS said the Government has put out a generous but affordable offer which will be fair to public servants and we want them to look at that deal. The PMS added members of the public won’t necessarily understand why they are going on strike when those in the private sector often have less generous pensions.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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