Unison leader warns of strikes to ‘protect’ public services

Christina McAnea has accused the Government of being ‘corrupt and out of touch’.

15 June 2022

The leader of the UK’s biggest trade union has warned of strikes to “protect” public services as she launched an attack on the “out of touch” Government over the cost of living crisis.

Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison, said ministers were not dealing with the pressures facing workers.

“They don’t understand us because they are not like us,” she told delegates at the union’s annual conference in Brighton, citing reports of Downing Street wallpaper costing £840 a roll.

“For that kind of money, I’d expect it to walk in and apply itself to the wall,” she said, adding that the current crisis was down to “political choices.”

“Instead of making political choices that help the less well-off, this Government is happy to let those who unashamedly profiteered from the pandemic off the hook.”

The billions of pounds “wasted” on personal protective equipment that could not be used would have given public sector workers a decent pay increase this year.

“Instead, we see the very people whose courage and dedication got the country through the pandemic, now having to rely on charity.

“We are witnessing the dying days of a corrupt and out of touch Government. A Government that’s hanging onto power, but out of ideas.”

Ms McAnea said she had asked Unison officials to get “strike ready”, adding: “If we have to, we will strike, to protect public service workers and the public services we all depend on.

“Are we going to sit back and let the liars, cheats and fraudsters in Westminster get away with saying they won’t give us a proper pay rise?

“Are we going to let them get away with saying we need to practise pay restraint?

“Just the other day, Boris Johnson said “the union barons will once again protest”.

“Well, conference, he got that right – we will protest. We already know we need to work with other unions across the UK if we’re going to take a stand.”

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