UK News

Strike action to be hit by high costs as union leaders 'forced into climbdown'

Strikes may have to be called off due to a lack of funding, according to Government ministers. Unions are reportedly struggling to meet the costs incurred through each walkout, with some now increasing levies and asking for public donations in order to raise money.

A senior Government source told The Times said that costs such as hardship funding and strike pay were “unsustainable” for the unions.

They added that some unions would be out of cash by the spring, in spite of some insisting that industrial action would continue into next year.

Leading unions hit back at the comments, accusing the Government of trying to “sabotage” talks about higher pay for public sector workers.

Paul Nowak, the new general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said there was a possible “landing zone” for a deal, adding: “Ministers should not underestimate the resolve of public sector workers.

“They want fair pay and for the Government to give them the respect they deserve.

“The present disputes can be resolved fairly if ministers are willing to negotiate in good faith.

“But the Conservatives seem more interested in sabotaging talks and dragging things out.”

Rishi Sunak has argued that the Tories have been “appropriate and fair” by agreeing with recommendations for a pay rise averaging at four to five percent.

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The Public and Communication Services Union, which represents Border Force staff amongst other public officials, has a £4million strike fund, and is spending £1million per day on walkouts.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has a larger £50million strike fund, however with planned escalated action in January meaning they could be spending £5million per day.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, said: “Unhelpful language about the affordability of the strikes from those in power will only embolden nursing staff even more.

“They know what is unaffordable is a failure to invest in nursing. Ministers can stop this now if they are prepared to speak about pay.

“I will not dig in if they will not dig in.”


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