“Holding down pay is bad for workers AND bad for the economy “

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“Holding down pay is bad for workers AND bad for the economy ”

I read with intrest your article ” Argos warehouse staff to strike “,
[ MEN , 2 July 2014
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/business-news/argos-warehouse-staff-to-strike-7361480
].

It’s great to see such fair and balanced reportage of the local
situation leading to this strike.

About 1,000 warehouse staff employed by Argos at five distribution
centres including one in Heywood, Greater Manchester, are to stage a
24 hour strike in a dispute over terms and conditions.

This local Argos strike comes a few days before an expected 2 million
workers come out against austerity.

Possibly the largest number of British workers on strike in any one
day since the General Strike of 1926.

Intrested Rochdale Observer readers can see for themselves what Unite
have to say on this ” worklife balance” issue at Argos issue at :
http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/argos-warehouse-staff-to-strike-on-friday-in-worklife-balance-dispute/

Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics , said:

“The crux to the dispute is Argos’ determination to push through a new
24/7 shift pattern, without offering our members a decent compensation
package to offset the severe disruption to their personal and family
lives at weekends.

“In many cases, it is going to cause havoc with childcare arrangements
and mean spouses and partners will see much less of each other. The
company’s plans will seriously undermine the ‘work/life’ balance.

“Some of our members already work weekends, but that was agreed with
Unite. The new proposals impact much more on family life. The
management has offered a one-off payment of £2,400, which, quite
frankly, is woefully inadequate, given the massive changes in shift
patterns that are being proposed for the years ahead.

“The proposals also include a new measuring system for their work
which, we believe, could be used as a tool to dismiss workers.

“We urge the employer to return to the negotiating table and relax the
new strict criteria. This would allow us to reach agreement, once the
management has recognised the impact its plans will have on our
members’ lives.

“We predict that Friday’s strike will cause substantial disruption to
the deliveries to customers.”

Workers see a strike as a last resort. But clearly not only the
workers at Argos have had enough.We are now on the verge of a wave of
industrial action not seen for manny decades in the UK.

Unite’s local government staff will now join up to two million council
workers and teaching staff in taking strike action on Thursday 10 July
against the government public sector austerity pay policies.

Unite’s members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted by 68 per
cent to take strike action and by 79 per cent to take industrial
action short of a strike after enduring four years of cuts in real
terms.

Local government employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest
union, voted overwhelmingly on Monday 30 June against the ‘insulting’
one per cent pay offer.

Unite’s local government staff will now join up to two million council
workers and teaching staff in taking strike action on Thursday 10 July
against the government public sector austerity pay policies.

Unite’s members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted by 68 per
cent to take strike action and by 79 per cent to take industrial
action short of a strike after enduring four years of cuts in real
terms.

Workes , and ther families have had enough of austerity.

As a member of Unite – the Community Union I have just e|mailed my
Member of Parliament Simon Danczuk to say that that holding down
pay is bad for workers and bad for the economy.

I have asked Simon Danczuk to to support Unite’s NHS pay guarantee for workers.

Unite has made it easy for other workers to support this with an
online e|activist action.Simply enter your postcode below and click
submit to send your MP an email. The text to my letter reads as
follows :

” As your constituent, I wish to bring to your attention the
devastating impact of the government’s public sector pay policy on NHS
workers like myself, and urge you to support our call for fair pay.
Since 2010, Britain’s public sector workers have lost up to £2,000 in
real terms. Years of below inflation pay rises on top of pay freezes
and the soaring cost of living has left many of us struggling to put
food on the table and pay our bills”.

” There is not one person I know who joined the NHS for the money, but
pay matters, it feeds our families and heats our homes and ought to be
fair. 40,000 NHS staff earn less than the living wage of £7.65 per
hour (£8.80 in London), and around 350,000 workers earn less than
£21,000 a year. But what makes this all the more difficult to accept
is that while our pay is shrinking, senior NHS managers are pocketing
six figure salaries and inflation-busting pay rises – 428 individuals
earn over £250,000 a year, while city chief executives earn many times
more. So much for sharing the pain “.

” We have been vilified by the government as uncaring and scapegoated
for the failings of a system squeezed of funding and undergoing yet
another costly reorganisation. But we work hard delivering the nations
babies and caring for the sick and elderly, in hospitals and the
community “.

” We do it because we care but now need a pay rise the properly
reflects the contribution we make, not another miserly one per cent.
Eight years without a decent pay rise on top of more recent attacks to
Agenda for Change terms and conditions is taking its toll. Holding
down wages in this way is bad for workers and bad for the economy “.

” The government’s so-called recovery is not being felt by hard
working people like me. Please show your support for workers like me;
sign Unite’s NHS pay pledge guarantee:

The Unite Pledge for MP’s to sign reads :

* I pledge to support my constituents who work in the NHS in their
call for a substantial, above inflation pay rise for 2014/15,that is
the same for everyone

* I pledge to campaign for the living wage and support the call for
the NHS to become an accredited living wage employer in line with the
principle that ‘work should be the surest way out of poverty’: (Living
Wage foundation)

* I pledge to support my constituents in their call for an end to the
practice of downbanding and performance related pay. Yours
………… ”

Could I please take this opportunity to ask concerned Rochdale
Observer readers who are members of UNITE & Unite – the Community
Union to join
me in taking this action. Thank you.

Yours faithfully

Andrew Wastling

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