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Unions to call for co-ordinated strikes this autumn

·2-min read
Overflowing bins in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh where cleansing workers from the City of Edinburgh Council are on the fourth day of eleven days of strike action. Workers at waste and recycling depots across the city have rejected a formal pay offer of 3.5 percent from councils body Cosla. Picture date: Wednesday August 24, 2022. (PA Wire)
Overflowing bins in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh where cleansing workers from the City of Edinburgh Council are on the fourth day of eleven days of strike action. Workers at waste and recycling depots across the city have rejected a formal pay offer of 3.5 percent from councils body Cosla. Picture date: Wednesday August 24, 2022. (PA Wire)

Unions are seeking to launch co-ordinated strikes this autumn to step up pay demands in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

Next month’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) looks set to see the tabling of a series of motions calling for unions to work more closely together in a drive to try to win inflation-related pay rises.

The TUC’s head of public services, Kevin Rowan, told Sky News they would “support and encourage” unions in the move, so strikes could be “as effective” as possible.

The move would stop short of a “general strike” but has the backing of the two biggest unions, Unison and Unite, The Observer reported.

Members of the Unite union man a picket line at one of the entrances to the Port of Felixstowe (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
Members of the Unite union man a picket line at one of the entrances to the Port of Felixstowe (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Unite’s motion calls for help to “facilitate and encourage industrial co-ordination between unions so that workers in dispute can most effectively harness their union power to win”.

It also says: “Congress recognises the need for unions to focus on collective action and industrial power to best represent and advance the interests of workers. The collective is the real power of the trade union movement.”

It comes after weeks of worsening industrial relations and accusations from union officials that the Government is doing little or nothing to help workers struggling with mounting bills.

A quiet platform at London Euston train station during a rail strike (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
A quiet platform at London Euston train station during a rail strike (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Strikes have been held across a range of sectors including among dock workers, bin collectors and on the transport network.

Mr Rowan added: “The fact is we are seeing energy costs go up 35 times faster than wages, food bills are going up, housing costs are going up.

“The only thing not going up is people’s pay.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that whoever succeeds him in No 10 would announce “another huge package of financial support” as Britain faces sky-high costs this winter.

He hinted at the scale of the options to ease the burden being teed up for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak to consider, as he said “we must and we will help people through the crisis”.