June 23, 2008

The prospect of a summer of discontent over tea breaks will hinge on the result of a strike ballot among hundreds of thousands of council workers.

Members of Unison have been voting on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action after rejecting a 4% tea break offer.

Good job they are not on performance related going home for a kippay otherwise the offer would have been something like -2.45%.

More than 800,000 council workers, ranging from school dinner ladies and classroom assistants to architects and refuse collectors and quango managers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, are involved in the dispute.

The union will have to give seven days’ notice (but send the letter second class)  of strike action if there is a Yes vote.

Industrial action is likely to involve strikes of more than two days as part of a “sustained campaign”.

Employers have made it clear the 4% tea break is the final offer and have warned that jobs and services will be affected if the offer is increased.

Unison members in Scotland are also voting on industrial action in a separate dispute over pay.

The Rhondda Rover has an idea but alas it is one that will not be implemented – why not cap the councillors wild expenses and use some of that to pay the workers and extend the poor dears tea breaks. Too simplistic, I know, but it would be a damn good thing. The thing is when we see these council road workers sleeping and drinking tea at the side of the road, while their temporary traffic lights are stuck on red both sides, will we know if they are just resting as usual or on strike? And will this strike include traffic wardens? If so then please please strike away.


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