Striking our only option
Reporter: DAWN MARSDEN
Date online: 11 July 2014
“STRIKING is not what we want to do, but we feel we have no choice — this is our last resort.”
Julie Finnegan, Unison’s branch secretary, apologised for the disruption caused to Oldhamers affected by yesterday’s strike action but said members were at the end of their tether.
From the picket line at Southlink Business Park, she added: “Striking is not a decision we have taken lightly, it truly is our last resort.
“A lot of council workers support vulnerable Oldhamers and they did not want to be leaving services short but they need to do this for themselves.
“We need to make sure we get decent pay. The Government has capped our pay rise at 1 per cent which is a cut in real terms. People are struggling to pay their bills.
“Council workers should not be relying on foodbanks and benefits to survive.
“We just want a decent wage and that will in turn help the economy grow. If people have more in their pockets, they will spend more.
“We can understand people’s feelings towards the disruption caused but we feel we were forced to do this.”
Schools and libraries across Oldham were closed and the waste collection service was suspended for the day.
On the Moorhey Street depot picket line, Peter Bennett from Unite, said: “All we want is a fair pay rise. We have been capped for the last few years. The Government has already announced a further cap until 2018 when it originally said 2015.
“The country is coming out of a bad economic period now but we are still being punished.
“We apologise for the disruption caused by our action but at this moment in time we have been given no option — the Government is not willing to negotiate.”
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