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  1. #1
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    Two Million set to join UK Strike

    Now is the winter of our discontent.....

    Schools, hospitals, courts and transport were hit by the biggest strike in decades today as teachers, nurses and civil servants joined weather forecasters, botanists and nuclear physicists on picket lines. Unions said early indications were that the walkout was being solidly supported and predicted that November 30 would go down in history as the biggest day of industrial action since the 1979 Winter of Discontent.


    Follow live coverage of the strike here

    Hospital employees and workers on the Mersey tunnels were among the first to take action from midnight, setting up picket lines and holding up banners attacking the Government's pension reforms.
    Early Government figures suggested that almost three in four schools were affected by the walkout, although that number could rise.
    The Department for Education (DfE) said it believed that more than half of England's 21,700 state schools (58%) were closed, with a further 13% partially shut. Around 13% are open, the DfE said, while the rest are unknown.
    Schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also expected to be affected.
    Queues are expected to build up during the day at Heathrow airport, no ferries will sail to or from Shetland, and the Metro in Newcastle will not run.
    Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude launched fresh criticism of the strike today, saying it was "inappropriate, untimely and irresponsible", especially while talks were continuing.
    "Responsibility for any disruption which people may experience today lies squarely with union leaders. We have listened to the concerns of public sector workers and that is why at the beginning of this month we put an improved offer on the table.
    "The offer ensures that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available while also being fair and affordable to taxpayers.
    "While discussions are continuing, I would urge public sector workers to look at the offer for themselves rather than listening to the rhetoric of their union leaders. These are the sort of pensions that few in the private sector can enjoy.
    "This morning, I want to reassure the public that we have done everything we can to minimise disruption. Rigorous contingency planning is in place across all sectors to try and limit the impact of the strike action and to ensure that key public services remain open.
    "However, we now estimate today that around three-quarters of schools in England will be closed or partially closed today. Council services such as refuse collection, street cleaning and libraries are also likely to be affected."
    Employees at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston were among the first public sector workers to walk out at midnight, setting up picket lines which will be manned for the next 24 hours.
    Unison president Eleanor Smith, who is a theatre nurse at the hospital which employs around 400 union members, said: "This has not been a decision that I've taken lightly. I have been a nurse for 30 years and this is the first time I have been compelled to take this action because of the Government.
    "The Government wants us to work longer, pay more and at the end get less. How fair is that?"
    The nurse added: "I came into the public sector not for great wages but for a pension. Now this pension which I was relying on is going to be taken away - not totally, but considerably reduced. I get the impression the Government doesn't like the public sector."
    Among those walking out at the Mersey Tunnels was Inspector Russ Aitken from Mersey Tunnel Police, who is taking industrial action for the first time in 35 years.
    "I feel quite strongly that I need to come out on strike," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
    "I feel angry that I'm paying a 50% increase in pension contributions and I feel angry that I'm going to have to work longer and at the end of it get less."
    Chancellor George Osborne urged unions to resume negotiations as he warned that today's strike over pensions will not "achieve or change" anything.
    The Chancellor insisted that today's walkout by millions of public sector workers would make Britain's economy weaker, telling BBC Breakfast: "The strike is not going to achieve anything, it's not going to change anything.
    "It is only going to make our economy weaker and potentially cost jobs."
    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls laid the blame for today's walkout on Mr Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron.
    He told BBC Breakfast: "I think it's totally ridiculous, that all across the country businesses and families are being disadvantaged by the strike today.
    "I think it's ridiculous, and it should have been sorted out.
    "And the problem is, that there's some real unfairness in what the Government's proposing. The unions have to give some ground and I think they should, and they would have done, but the Government said weeks ago they're not going to talk any more, no more ground to be given."
    He added: "It should have been sorted out. It was the Chancellor and the Prime Minister's job to give some ground and sort this out, they didn't, and that's why we end up with this strike today."
    Unison leader Dave Prentis said unions had the public on their side, adding: "They know that public service workers are not asking for more - they just want the pension deal they were promised.
    "Taking strike action is not an easy option, especially with Christmas just round the corner, but we will show Government ministers that we will not take this pensions tax lying down."
    Mr Prentis told Radio 4's Today programme: "The last time we saw Treasury ministers and the Cabinet Office's ministers was November 2. They have not asked to see us since then.
    "This idea that negotiations are continuing is just not true. We were told by Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) there is a final offer, if you don't accept it it will be withdrawn - that's hardly the idea that negotiations continue."
    Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "That is not true. As far as education is concerned, the general secretaries were in last week. They start negotiating again tomorrow, we are negotiating openly and honestly."
    Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, one of those taking action today, accused ministers of misleading the public.
    She said: "The only thing making the economy weaker is the Government's economic strategy. To continue to blame public sector workers isn't going to do anything to resolve the difficulties we're in.
    "The Government constantly says get back round the table - that's all the NASUWT has wanted to do, but ministers haven't called a meeting since November 2."
    Ms Keates added: "To keep claiming publicly that they want to negotiate, when ministers haven't called a meeting, I think that's misleading."
    Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary joined picket lines at Portland, Falmouth, and on a joint protest with Public and Commercial Services union members in Portsmouth.
    RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "RMT transport workers in the North East and our members on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the service that supplies the Royal Navy fleet around the world in times of both war and peace, are standing shoulder to shoulder with millions of other public service workers involved in the action today.
    "We are sending the clearest message to the Government that we will defend our pensions to the hilt and the outrageous demand that our members should work longer, pay more and get less has been thrown back in the faces of this Government of millionaire public schoolboys."
    Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "The strike is there to send a message loud and clear about how people feel. That's an important achievement in itself, and actually what the coalition is doing to the six million taxpayers in the public sector is going to hurt the economy."
    He warned that, from next year, spending by public sector workers is going to go down, which will affect Britain's economy.
    "They will be starting to feel pay cuts, as pay is being capped, and due to increased pension contributions", he said.
    Mr Hobby estimated that by the end of four years, school leaders will have seen their pay cut by 20%.
    Mr Maude said later it was wrong of union leaders to maintain there had been no negotiations for weeks.
    "There were formal discussions with the Civil Service unions only yesterday and there will be formal discussions with the teaching unions tomorrow and health on Friday.
    "In addition, there are frequent informal contacts between the Government and the TUC.
    "Contrary to what is being claimed this morning, talks are very much ongoing, intensive and making good progress - and it is misleading to claim otherwise.
    "All of this underlines how indefensible today's strike is while these talks at scheme level are moving forward."

  2. #2
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    If they can afford Trident that they will never use, they can afford a decent pension for our nurses etc

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    'It's not fair. If only I had a job I'd be on strike today.'

    Thought the cartoon was good today.

  4. #4
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    ^
    Yea brilliant. 5.25% rise for dole dossers next year. 2 year pay freeze, followed by 2% over 2 years for the public sector. Great innit.

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    ^ Being as the government accepts 5.25% as the inflation rate, does that mean my public service pension will rise accordingly ?

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    Probably yes. Although im sure they`ll looking to implement some new formula to avoid giving such a rise.

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    it's the average for the year now.

  8. #8
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    Not even in the top three stories on Sky News. Heathrow operated pretty well as normal. Damp squib springs to mind.

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    I don't begrudge the salaries and pensions of the emergency services, nurses etc but i hate it when i read local councils CEO's getting paid in excess of £150k pa, golden handshakes after just 18 months in the job, One woman on the reception at the local hospital and 6 behind her drinking coffee, likewise in any council office. More civilians in the MOD than servicemen.
    Almost all public sector agencies are overweight with excess staff.

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    Stop using Cameron's words H. Yesterdays strike was headline news all day on the BBC.


    strike day sees widespread disruption - mirror.co.uk


    Police were called in to help ambulances attend emergencies after thousands of NHS workers went on strike. In the capital they backed London Ambulance Service which faced “severe pressure” after around 42% of staff walked out.

    Was public sector strike a damp squib? Not for protesters in London | Society | The Guardian

    Miliband had used his Commons platform at PMQs to accuse ministers of spoiling for a fight with dinner ladies whom he himself refused to "demonise". But the Labour leadership's official position fell short of endorsing a stoppage, which Cameron was quick to dismiss, pre-scripted, as a "damp squib".On marches up and down the country, it did not feel that way. The squib was large enough to close or partly close two schools in three and curb a range of public services, including NHS operations. "Our message to Cameron and his Lib Dem stooges is: 'Get back to the negotiating table and start talking again,'" thundered one union leader on the Embankment's big screen.

    Holding a banner and wearing an immaculate suit and tie, Ralph Graham was also vehement. "I'm doing this because of Cameron's attempt to separate those people over 50, whose pensions are not affected, telling us we're safe. That is outrageous," he said.

    Graham is a past chairman of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, not the striking type. The rally was full of Middle Britain marchers like him, some from teachers' unions that had not struck in a century.
    I aint superstitious, but I know when somethings wrong
    I`ve been dragging my heels with a bitch called hope
    Let the undercurrent drag me along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bower View Post
    I don't begrudge the salaries and pensions of the emergency services, nurses etc but i hate it when i read local councils CEO's getting paid in excess of £150k pa, golden handshakes after just 18 months in the job, One woman on the reception at the local hospital and 6 behind her drinking coffee, likewise in any council office. More civilians in the MOD than servicemen.
    Almost all public sector agencies are overweight with excess staff.
    I think the vast majority of people feel exactly the same way.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim View Post
    The BBC, the Mirror and the Guardian? - all rice munching, gay loving lefties.

    But the truth is there were NO 12 hour delays at Heathrow, essential services kept running, and what the Union called "Millions" the general consensus called "tens of thousands" of strikers.

    So essentially it's had no effect whatsoever on government policy, and the talks were ongoing anyway.

    Damp.Squib.

    Meanwhile, the union leaders that called it still have six figure salaries and pension pots the likes of which their members can only dream.

    Dickheads.

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bower
    More civilians in the MOD than servicemen.
    That's because it takes approx 4 rear echelon personnel (who used to be military) to keep one soldier on the front line. To make the rear echelon cheaper the military were replaced by civilians. Hence why more civvies than soldiers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post


    The BBC, the Mirror and the Guardian? - all rice munching, gay loving lefties.

    But the truth is there were NO 12 hour delays at Heathrow, essential services kept running, and what the Union called "Millions" the general consensus called "tens of thousands" of strikers.
    Quite, they were letting anyone through, with barely any checks according to eyewitness statements. Also, there were at least 5k out on strike in my small area alone. Come on H, dont buy into government propaganda so easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    So essentially it's had no effect whatsoever on government policy, and the talks were ongoing anyway.
    I wouldn`t exactly call turning up, but refusing to negotiate, "ongoing talks" would you?
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Damp.Squib.
    I see your still using "Tim nice but dim`s tag line.
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Meanwhile, the union leaders that called it still have six figure salaries and pension pots the likes of which their members can only dream.

    Dickheads.
    Which leaders are on 6 figure salaries? Brendan Barber? Steve prentice? I know my union leader isnt even close to that. Also, they`ll get the same accrual rates as every other member. So more propaganda again.

    Keep it coming H

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    You're talking out of your arse. This from 2007.

    While millions take pay cuts, union leaders rake it in

    Submitted on 15 January, 2009 - 11:08 According to the website of the Certification Officer, the government official responsible for registering trade unions and employers' organisations, the payments made to the general secretaries of the ten unions representing the big majority of British trade unionists in 2007 averaged almost £80,000 a year - not counting generous benefits.
    The median wage for a full-time worker last year was £24,908, a figure inflated by "high earners" ie non-workers at the top end.
    The various general secretaries' salaries cannot be exactly compared, since the unions list expenses in different ways, some without a person-by person break down. (In no case do they include the union's national insurance contribution as an employer.) What is clear is the extent to which the leaders of our trade unions are still raking it in - at a time when millions of us are suffering real-terms wage cuts. (Paul Kenny, on £81,000 a year, has advocated that GMB members take pay cuts to "save jobs".)
    The partial exception to this miserable spectacle seems to be Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, who after his election in 2005 fulfilled his election pledge to accept only something like a fire fighter's wage by reducing his take home pay to what it would be if his salary was £40,000 and contributing the rest to a special union fund (information from official statement, September 2005) - giving him something like £29,000 take home against a minimum £24,000 for a trained fire fighter in London. Mark Serwotka of the PCS, meanwhile, has violated a similar promise by giving back only £4,000 (PCS accounts). That means that in 2007 he was taking home about £50,000 in an industry where the average pre-tax pay was £20,000, 28.6% earned between £15,000 and £20,000, and 18.2% earned less than £15,000 (PCS figures, July 2007).
    The figures are:
    Bob Crow (RMT) - £79,564 in salary, £26,115 in pension contributions, £13,013 expenses
    John Hannett (USDAW) - £81,742 salary, £16,389 pension contributions
    Billy Hayes (CWU) - £83,530 salary, £14,190 pension contributions
    Sally Hunt (UCU) - £63,743 salary, £7,612 pension contributions, £2705 car benefit (start of June 2006 to end of May 2007)
    Paul Kenny (GMB) - £81,000 salary, £21,000 superannuation (pension contributions), £8,000 car
    Dave Prentis (Unison) - £92,187 salary, £23,603 pension contributions, £11,646 expenses and car benefit
    Derek Simpson (Unite-Amicus) - £62,673 salary, £16,156 pension contributions, £13,333 car allowance, £26,181 housing benefit
    Mark Serwotka (PCS) - £82,094 salary, £26,104 pensions contributions, £2,245 additional housing cost allowance and additional housing cost supplement
    Steve Sinnott (NUT) - £99,846 salary, £23,963 pension contributions
    Tony Woodley (Unite-TGWU) - £59,333 salary, £9,552 pension contributions, car fuel £3,360
    Matt Wrack (FBU) - £66,389 salary, £44,281 pension contributions, £5,134 car
    Many unions pay large salaries and expenses not only to their general secretary, but to other officials, elected and non-elected, as well. These figures are thus only the tip of the iceberg.
    While our union leaders have lifestyles more like the bosses' than ours, they are much more likely to continue to sell us short. Activists must renew the demand that officials give back everything above something like the average wage of a skilled worker in the industry, and launch a fight for union rules to change so that salaries are reduced to this level.
    Postscript According to the Times (17/01/09), Derek Simpson now receives nearly £200,000 in pay and benefits, with his pay package increasing 17 percent this year. He also has the right to stay in his £800,000 house in Hertfordshire until he dies, after which his partner will be able to remain there at a heavily subsidised rate.
    Simpson, according the Times, demanded that the union subsidise his accommodation to "make it affordable" - a perk worth about £40,000, bringing his total remuneration to £194,252.
    We can assume all this is true, since Unite's official response was: "These arrangements were approved by the executive committee at the time and have been a matter of public record ever since. His remuneration is published every year and is properly approved every year."
    For our union leaders to be living this sort of lifestyle is wrong in itself, particularly at a time when so many of us are taking pay cuts (Unite members earn, on average, less than the national average wage). In addition, Simpson has handed a massive propaganda coup to the bosses and the right-wing press. He and his like are a disgrace to the labour movement.

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    Thailand Expat klong toey's Avatar
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    Clarkson would have them all shot.

    Jeremy Clarkson should be sacked by the BBC over his "appalling" comments about killing striking public sector workers, trade union Unison has said.

    The union said it was considering reporting the Top Gear presenter to the police over comments on The One Show.

    Referring to striking workers, Mr Clarkson said: "I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families."

    BBC News - Sack Jeremy Clarkson over strike comments, Unison urges
    Fascists dress in black and go around telling people what to do, whereas priests... more drink!

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    Like I said H. I know my union leader isnt anywhere close to six figures.

    From your post.

    The partial exception to this miserable spectacle seems to be Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, who after his election in 2005 fulfilled his election pledge to accept only something like a fire fighter's wage by reducing his take home pay to what it would be if his salary was £40,000 and contributing the rest to a special union fund (information from official statement, September 2005) - giving him something like £29,000 take home against a minimum £24,000 for a trained fire fighter in London.

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    I would have all the politicians with their gold plated inflation proof pensions, their bank directorships and arms manufacturers executive directorships guillotined in front of the cheering mobs.

    Let them eat rice.

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    Yep. Democracy is in need of an enema.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim View Post
    Like I said H. I know my union leader isnt anywhere close to six figures.

    From your post.

    The partial exception to this miserable spectacle seems to be Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, who after his election in 2005 fulfilled his election pledge to accept only something like a fire fighter's wage by reducing his take home pay to what it would be if his salary was £40,000 and contributing the rest to a special union fund (information from official statement, September 2005) - giving him something like £29,000 take home against a minimum £24,000 for a trained fire fighter in London.
    Good for him, but he's an exception to the rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    Being as the government accepts 5.25% as the inflation rate, does that mean my public service pension will rise accordingly ?
    Your wasted here mate , you should be on the stage

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Not even in the top three stories on Sky News. Heathrow operated pretty well as normal. Damp squib springs to mind.
    Agreed one day stoppages are a sign of weakness , if you believe in what your doing get out and stay out untill you achieve your aim .

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    Why people worry about what trade union leaders earn never fails to amaze me,, at least they represent and look after the thousands of their members , compared to the scum in Westminster who are paid similar amounts + fiddle what they can get away with to look after the cronie elite in our society whilst crapping on the majority of us from the greatest height
    I'm proud of my 38" waist , also proud I have never done drugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by superman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bower
    More civilians in the MOD than servicemen.
    That's because it takes approx 4 rear echelon personnel (who used to be military) to keep one soldier on the front line. To make the rear echelon cheaper the military were replaced by civilians. Hence why more civvies than soldiers.
    Doing what exactly ? everything is contracted out now.
    There is no need for the thousands of civil servants in the MOD. All they do is protect their own jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bower
    Doing what exactly ? everything is contracted out now.
    Everything that the military did before it was contracted out. I was based an establishment, once upon a time, where as soldiers, we weren't allowed to drive the vehicles that transported us to various part of the site. A complete bollocks. In total I'd say 60% of the workers at that establishment were civilians. There was nothing those civilians done/did that we couldn't have done, and better. As civilians they had work practice restrictions, which caused a shed load of problems.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

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