Workers vote for industrial action

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SOUTH Holland District Council union members are to be asked what they have the “appetite” for after a national ballot in favour of industrial action.

The result of the Unison vote could see many district council workers, including benefits advisers, customer service advisers and rubbish collectors, choose to work to rule or go out on strike on November 30.

It is believed that almost 75 per cent of Unison members at the council who took part in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action in protest at Government plans to change their pensions.

Under the proposals public service workers would pay more, work longer and earn less.

Lynda Pearson, secretary of the South Holland Unison branch, said: “I think the decision to take industrial action is the right one because if these plans are pushed through they could herald the start of an attack on public sector workers.

“We are aware that we do not necessarily have the sympathy of the general public, but if central Government does isolate public service workers, those workers will leave their jobs in droves and that will have a detrimental effect on the services we can offer.”

Mrs Pearson has said she will now talk to all Unison members at the council to ask their views on what industrial action they are in favour of, but said some form of action will be taken despite a Government announcement last week which aimed to soften the blow by saying the final salary pensions for those currently within 10 years of retirement would not be affected.

She said: “It was certainly an encouraging move because one of the main reasons for the ballot in the first place was that the Government refused to come to the table to negotiate with us.

“This is a step in the right direction but for many people in my situation, not within 10 years of retiring, it does not go far enough. It’s a good start but it’s too little, too late.”

Mrs Pearson said whatever members decide to do on November 30, efforts will be made to ensure it has minimum effect on service users.