Little real support from union members for strike votes

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From: Coun Barry Anderson, Adel & Wharfedale Ward, Conservative Group Office, Civic Hall, Leeds.

ONCE again the trade unions have enacted a strike across a range of public sector services with little support from their membership. The strikes on July 10 have caused disruption to hard working families and closed services to some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds (The Yorkshire Post, July 11). How can the trade unions argue that their membership is determined to strike when so few of them vote in the ballots that lead to strike action?

For GMB only 23 per cent of their membership voted, with a “Yes” vote of 73 per cent, meaning the proportion of members voting for action was 17 per cent of those balloted. For Unite the picture was worse – 20 per cent of membership voted, with a “Yes” vote of 68 per cent, meaning the proportion of membership voting for action was 14 per cent of those balloted. For Unison the picture was similar with a low number of members actually voting for strike action.

Of course people have concerns about low pay and where possible action should be taken to improve pay and conditions. The Government has made significant changes to the tax threshold since 2010 meaning that those on low pay lose much less of their salary to income tax and pay increases are higher for those on low pay in the current pay deal. It is also worth noting the March 2014 figures from the Office for National Statistics, they showed that public sector workers are now 14.5 per cent higher paid than in the private sector.

We can argue about the figures, but the key impact of this action is on families who want to send their children to school and suffer loss of pay as a result.

From: David Treacher, Hull.

THE recent public sector strike and protest was well supported by the workers concerned in many cities in Yorkshire and further afield, but these people need support from the public who are losing out on services, with the cuts in work staff and cuts in income to councils and central government bodies. The public should lobby their MP over these cuts over and over again and ask questions, to be put to the government by them.

It might seem awkward to many people, but what choice have the workers got to highlight these cuts? Without these protests the cuts could be worse, just support them and if they hold a rally near you why not go along and hear what they say? What have you go to lose?