Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow have won a pay increase and regrading following a long dispute involving strike action.
Cleaners, janitors, waste workers and civil servants take strike action
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Striking cleaners, members of the Unite trade union, working at four London hospitals have taken their protests to the heart of the City of London. They are making their voices heard as their employer, the outsourcing company Serco, announces its latest profit figures. In one of the biggest ever strike actions by cleaners, the workers are highlighting excessive workloads and levels of pay so low that many have to take second jobs to make ends meet.
An analysis of pay in the public sector reveals that the average civil servant has seen a cumulative loss of purchasing power of EUR 6000 since 2010 as public sector pay has failed to increase in line with prices. In the last nine years there have been just two increases in the index that sets civil servants' pay - only 0.6% in July 2016 and the same amount in February 2017. Taking a longer perspective, 20 years ago around 10% of civil servants were paid in a range between the minimum wage and 10% above the minimum wage. That percentage has almost doubled meaning that 1 million civil servants
On 9 October the KTAMS civil service union organised a day of strike action in all workplaces in which it organises in protest at the sharply falling purchasing power of workers' pay. A steep decline in the Turkish Lira has led to much higher inflation, leaving the minimum wage effectively below the poverty level. The union wants to see legislation that will ensure the increasing cost of living is reflected in workers' pay on a monthly basis. During the day's strike action, KTAMS is organising a march to the parliament to present its proposals.