Bloomberg News

Union Support Grows for Anti-Austerity U.K. Strike

April 04, 2013

The possibility of a general strike by U.K. workers grew as Unison, representing 1.3 million public- sector employees, said it might support plans by another union to protest Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity measures.

The proposed 24-hour walkout would be the first time since 1926 that private and public-sector workers have taken coordinated action on such a large scale. The Unite union, which represents 1.5 million workers, some in the private sector, proposed the strike, which will be debated at a meeting of the Trades Union Congress, the umbrella labor movement, on April 24.

A spokeswoman for Unison said today the union would consider a general strike as a tactic that should be used at the end of a long campaign of other protests, such as marches. There would be considerable legal hurdles to overcome before a general strike could be called, the spokeswoman, who declined to be named, said by telephone.

Last October, tens of thousands of people marched in London, Glasgow and Belfast to protest the coalition government’s austerity measures. With Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne asking government departments to find 11.5 billion pounds ($17.3 billion) of further savings in the fiscal year 2015-16, spending cuts will only deepen. Two days ago, Unite dubbed Osborne an “economic Dracula” who only “emerges to suck more life out of the economy.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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