Following the decision of EIS to strike, Mike Robinson, Unite’s National Officer for education circulated Unite members with the following message:
EIS strike action
“EIS have decided to strike on the 23rd October and will be applying a work to contract from the 24th October onwards until further notice. EIS have contacted Unite asking for an understanding about their strike action and any picket lines etc in higher education institutions where EIS have membership…..
Unite members should not carry out work of other staff in any event as part of our work to contract action applied in 2011.
Any member who feels endangered or have a conscientious objection to crossing a picket line should seek advice from your local Regional Officer on how to respond to local management in these circumstances if their route to their workplace is likely to involve crossing an EIS picket line.
It is in acceptable to engage in discussion with pickets and even to express support for their protest.
However at this time Unite members are not being called on to strike and until the national committee considers whether Unite should take part in a dispute, members should not take strike action but should not carry out any work normally done by others in dispute either”.
The national executives of three of the unions at GCU have decided in the last week against strike action in the immediate future but are continuing to demand that the scandalous situation regarding their members pay and pensions be resolved by employers and government.
On 21st March the national executive of Unite decided to suspend their ‘industrial action short of strike’ which had consisted of working to contract following the imposition of the 2011 pay and conditions set out in the offer from UCEA. The union intends this suspension to allow for constructive negotiations to take place and is specifically for the period of the 2012 New JNCHES negotiations from 30 March until end of May 2012.
If a settlement on the 2011 disputed matters is not made within the defined period above, then unite warns that the industrial action may be reapplied.
This follows on the UCU National Executive decision that members in Scotland and Northern Ireland will NOT be asked to strike on 28th March, although they have called a one-day strike and demonstration by London TPS members on the 28th. UCU Members outside of London are asked to show solidarity with colleagues by attending any local rallies or events if they can.
On the 15th March it was announced that the executive of the EIS had suspended strike action on 28th March over pensions.
In a ballot of EIS members, 74% had indicated that they would be prepared to take strike action over pensions, however the union said its lobbying on the issue had “borne fruit” with the Scottish government and local authorities agreeing to negotiate with teachers’ representatives.
EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: “The EIS Executive meeting today decided that entering into negotiation with the Scottish government and employers offers the opportunity to find a Scottish solution to pension provision.
They went on to warn that “The EIS is clear that further future action will be contemplated if satisfactory progress in pensions cannot be achieved in Scotland.”
Staff who were successful in the recent promotions round were shocked to find out that guarantees given by former HR head Jim Gibson were being ignored. A letter from Jim to those applying for promotion clearly stated that the implementation date for the new contracts would be August 1st 2011. However, this was not the message to successful staff from Principal Pamela Gillies, whose congratulatory letter stated that promotion would be implemented from January 1st 2012. Protests from the joint unions at GCU, pointing out this inconsistency led to a reversal of this approach, and to the re-instatement of the terms stated within the agreed policy, leading to five months back pay for those concerned.
Yet another example of what the unions can do for you, and why you should be in a union if you’re not in one already!
Tomorrow, if you work in the public sector, you may be on strike.
Or if you don’t work the sector, you will know somebody close to you who has decided to take industrial action.
These are our friends, neighbours, colleagues. They care for our children, sick and elderly. They keep our nation safe and our communities clean.
But the government is waging a campaign of distortion against our public sector workers.
So, on the eve of this historic day of action, Unite has produced this short film. This is the truth.
Download the film here: http://youtu.be/-x2aPIBKkOk
Or watch here:
It is short, only 3 mins. Please watch it and share it with your friends, post it on Facebook or link to it on all your emails.
Don’t forget to also text your message of support to ‘86888’ and updates from where you are on November 30th, 2011 – it’s free.
It is time the truth was told.
Unite campaigns team
According to Unite: “The government is bringing forward a series of proposals which threaten to greatly reduce the pension benefits and increase their cost to members working in the public services.
Unite has tried to negotiate a fair settlement with the government but the government refuses to hear workers’ concerns.
The proposals threaten public sector pensions by:
• Lower pension increases
• Higher contributions
• Lower quality benefits
• Ending final salary pensions
• Raising the pension age
• No protection if you are contracted-out
• Imposition not negotiation
Your future is at stake – Vote Yes for Strike Action November 30th”