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Redbridge MP backs workers threatening to strike

PUBLISHED: 15:22 02 November 2011

Redbridge GMB protesters walk past parliament in March of this year

Redbridge GMB protesters walk past parliament in March of this year

Archant

Striking workers could be joined on the picket line by a Redbridge MP when they stage a nationwide walkout on November 30.

Members of the Redbridge branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and other public service unions garnered his support when they travelled to Westminster to lobby MPs on the subject on Wednesday of last week.

While the NUT has already decided to take industrial action on November 30, others, including the National Association of Headteachers, Unison, Unite and the PCS, are currently still balloting on whether or not to strike over the increase to their pension contributions.

Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer pledged his support for the teachers he met, telling them he would join them on the picket line when they walk out.

Mr Cryer said: “People are very angry about what are very hefty cuts to their pensions. Some people I have spoken to say they stand to lose up to a third.

“This is only three or four years after new pension schemes were created.”

He added: “Nobody strikes with any pleasure, but if the government refuses to negotiate properly on this then I’ll be supporting the industrial action.”

NUT Redbridge president Bob Archer and his colleagues travelled to Westminster to meet Ilford South MP Mike Gapes.

Mr Archer said: “Every indication is that there will be a lot of support, and this time it will be from teachers, headteachers and civil servants.”

Unions representing more than two million workers are currently balloting members ahead of the one-day stoppage on November 30.

Mr Gapes told the Recorder: “The main point here is that they [the unions] have the right to withdraw their labour but the government are putting them in a difficult position. The government should not be making ultimatums.”

In a speech at the Conservative Party conference last month, Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated that public sector pensions were unaffordable and that striking would “hurt the very people who help pay” for those pensions.

Union bosses yesterday (Wednesday) met with ministers in a bid to get changes to the pension scheme agreed with industrial action.


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