Strikes Force Tory Concessions – But We Need More

March 16th was supposed to be a major day of industrial action throughout the North but a number of unions have pulled back due to a Tory promise of negotiations.

The Tories originally said that public sector pay was set by an independent arbitrator and refused to enter talks but the strikes forced them to back down.

Firefighters, for example, were offered a pay rise of 12% over two years and a big majority voted to accept.

This is still below the rate of inflation but the decision of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to face down threats to bring the army in to do their job and go on strike has frightened the Tories.

Other unions are still taking action with NIPSA staging a rally for higher pay at the office of the Secretary of State on March 15th.

Across Britain, there will be big mobilisations of workers on budget day, March 15th as there is a wider issue of funding public services.

The Northern Ireland Committee of the ICTU should be calling workers out on this date.

Civil Servants, Teachers, Health and Social Care workers, Housing Executive Maintenance, Road Service workers, University lecturers, and many others in the North’s public, private and community sectors continue to be engaged in industrial action.  

In the meantime, the Northern strikes have highlighted the disastrous policy of the union leaders in the South. They settled for a 3% pay rise in 2022 and a 3.5% rise in 2023 for public sector workers. This is well below the rate of inflation and represents a real pay cut.

Northern workers have shown that if you fight you win something – even if it is not enough. If you capitulate, you only get big pay cuts.