A resolution to dispute needed

Last week, low paid council and education workers went on strike over pay and conditions.

I told the Civil Service minister in the Commons that I supported the public sector workers withdrawing their labour as an associate member of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which is not affiliated to the Labour Party.

I told him that public servants had suffered a 20 per cent cut to their living standards as a result of government policy.

I know that readers will have been inconvenienced by this action and I know that this was keenly felt by those on strike for the day.

After all, they are also users of public services as are their families and friends.

I know that no one who goes on strike does so lightly. After all, already low paid people will have a day’s pay docked and can ill afford the loss.

Yet they were right to take the action they saw as necessary to defend themselves. It should always be a last resort.

But there is no point in having the universally acknowledged right to strike if it cannot be used when absolutely necessary.

It is a basic human right to withdraw one’s labour.

The government should seek an urgent resolution of the disputes.

My party accepts that there is a need for austerity to put the public finances back into order but that this should be done with greater fairness for the low paid and greater contributions from the wealthy.