Unison leader warns against strikes to ‘protect’ public services

The leader of Britain’s biggest union has warned against strikes to ‘protect’ public services as she launches an attack on the ‘out of touch’ government over the cost of living crisis.

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

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

“For that kind of money, I would expect it to come in and apply the wall,” she said, adding that the current crisis was due to “political choices.”

If necessary, we will strike to protect public service workers and the public services on which we all depend.

Christina McAnea, Unison

“Instead of making policy choices that help those less fortunate, this government is happy to let down those who have shamelessly profited from the pandemic.”

Billions of pounds ‘wasted’ on personal protective equipment that could not be used would have given public sector workers a decent pay rise this year.

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

“We are witnessing the last days of a corrupt and disconnected government. A government clinging to power, but running out of ideas.

Ms McAnea said she had asked Unison officials to prepare for the ‘strike’, 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 have to practice wage moderation?

“The other day Boris Johnson said ‘the union barons will protest again’.

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