UNISON members vote ‘Yes’ to strike

MEMBERS of UNISON trade union have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ in favour of strike action against pension changes on November 30.

The union balloted members including nurses, teaching assistants, social workers, care assistants, paramedics, police staff, school dinner ladies, probation workers and cleaners.

Results came in at 245,358 members in favour against 70,253.

UNISON claim that if the plans are implemented, ‘most people will pay more and work longer to get a pension that will be worth less’.

Yesterday (Wednesday November 2) Horsham MP and cabinet office minister Francis Maude met with trade unions, offering a revised deal, in a bid to avoid strike action being balloted.

The response, however, was not overwhelmingly positive.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said: “The decisive yes vote in the ballot, reflects the deep concern that our members have over government ministers’ proposals for their pensions.

“Yesterday’s statement in Parliament was a marked improvement on earlier proposals.

“But, it is important to understand that the statement has to be translated into offers in the scheme specific talks. We still have had no offer in those negotiations, where such an offer can legitimately be made.

“We support the TUC day of action on November 30, but will be negotiating right up to then and beyond to get a fair deal for our members.”

Senior lay officials of the union are meeting throughout the afternoon to discuss the latest government statement on pensions and to decide what action to take as a result of the strike ballot.

Now, Horsham people in need of urgent medical attention on November 30 will face a ‘skeleton’ ambulance service by South East Coast Ambulance (SECAMB).

Pick up your copy of this week’s County Times to read a full interview with a SECAMB ambulance technician for West Sussex, who claims ‘the public will suffer’ with ‘grandad paramedics’ if pension changes are pursued.