Friday, 19 September 2008


The Green Party has called for unions to take united and sustained industrial action in order to reverse the government’s policy of imposing real-terms pay cuts on public sector workers.

Teachers and civil servants are currently balloting for industrial action against pay and privatisation, whilst July saw over 500,000 local government workers across the country – including care assistants, refuse collectors, cleaners, teaching assistants and social workers - taking strike action against attempted pay cuts.

Local Government employers’ "final offer" amounted to just 2.45 per cent, whilst food prices have risen over 9 per cent in the last year and energy bills by over 15 per cent.

Derek Wall, the Green Party's former Male Principal Speaker, has called for trade unions to put increased pressure on the Government and employers by uniting to carry out sustained strike action. In the wake of a national two-day walkout by UNISON and Unite unions in July, green union activists began exploring the potential for joint action between unions across different sectors.

Derek stated, "What public sector workers are asking for is entirely fair – that they are not forced to pay for economic problems which they are not responsible for."

"Many Green trade unionists believe that further strike action must be announced immediately and should be coordinated between trade unions as far as is possible. We support the widest and broadest coalition of industrial action."

"Sustained and united strike action can force the hand of the employers and overturn their plans to impose pay cuts. All public sector workers deserve a pay rise not only to cover inflation, but to make up for years of below inflation pay deals, which are pay cuts in all but name."

Joseph Healy, the Green Party's Parliamentary Candidate for the Vauxhall Constituency joined picket lines in solidarity with Lambeth's local government workers.

Joseph joined strikers at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton and pledged the support of Lambeth Green Party in their fight for fair pay and against privatisation. Meanwhile local Labour MPs, Kayt Hoey, Keith Hill and Tessa Jowell, were nowhere to be seen whilst several Labour Councillors crossed picket lines.

Joseph, who is an active member of UNITE and Co-Convenor of the Green Party’s eco-
socialist platform, Green Left, said: "Everyone should be clear that the offer on the table is a pay cut in real terms. The Green Party entirely supports the right for workers to demand fair pay. Gordon Brown's Labour Government appears content to make working class people pay for the country’s economic woes, which is simply unfair."

"The Green Party is working with trade union activists up and down the country to build grass roots resistance to pay cuts and privatisation being imposed by Labour, Lib Dem and Tory administrations."

James Caspell, a UNISON shop steward added: "It's great that Joseph and other Green Party representatives are joining picket lines up and down the country and showing the sort of solidarity that is entirely lacking from the Labour Government. Britain is crying out for a new left alternative and I am sure that Green activists will continue to play a key part of the workers' struggle for environmental and social justice."

The Green Party has a record of championing trade union activism, from defending attacks on public services to advocating the repeal of the anti-trade union laws introduced by the Conservatives and left in place by Labour. On the London Assembly, Green Party Members were integral in establishing the Living Wage Unit aiming to lift London's lowest paid workers out of the poverty trap.


Green party activists have spoken in support of nurse and trade unionist, Karen Reissmann, who was sacked in November 2007 for speaking out against privatisation in the health service, a direct attack on the rights of trade unionists to campaign against job and service cuts.

Karen’s Employment Tribunal hearing was recently postponed - and won't take place now until some time between December 2008 and April 2009.

Secretary of the GPTU, Peter Murry, stated “The Green Party opposes any attack on trade unionists and their right to speak out on issues which affect the lives of workers. We call on Karen’s employers to reinstate her immediately.”


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