UK workers in biggest strike against government spending cuts

Union leaders are set to endorse plans for the biggest show of British industrial action for two decades against the Government’s proposed spending cuts.

As the TUC’s annual conference gets under way in Manchester, its general secretary Brendan Barber told Sky News unions would support their members if they wanted to take strike action.

“I am not calling for civil disobedience,” he said.

“The emphasis this week at Congress is about laying the foundations for a very broad-based campaign and reaching out to the wider public.

“I recognise that strikes are not popular, particularly if they hit services that the public rely on.

“People don’t take strike action lightly. They lose money when they go on strike, so they have to feel that it is the only course open to them.

“But where workers face those circumstances, and make a democratic decision, the union stands with their members and will back them to get justice and a fair deal.”

With Chancellor George Osborne under pressure to detail controversial plans to slash disability and sickness benefits by at least £2.5bn, Mr Barber said the unions we “determined” to get across the case for an alternative.

“A key problem now is to get solid economic growth in place,” he said.

“There are more and more serious economic commentators who say we are in too fragile a state.

“The cuts risk pushing us into a double-dip recession.

“That would mean higher unemployment, lower tax revenues, more people relying on benefits.

“At this stage we need to see a real focus on helping to promote economic growth, not driving it down through these kind of cuts.”

The TUC has said the planned cuts will hit the poorest 13 times harder than the rich.

Meanwhile, other union leaders have warned of strikes and campaigns of civil disobedience.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport, has called for demonstrators to “sit down on motorways… protesting like we did against the poll tax”.
Source: Sky News

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