Sheffield TUC says: “It’s time to stand up and protect our right to strike!”

The Government’s response to nearly a million workers striking for fair pay? Smash their right to strike!

“We cannot stand by and see this authoritarian Conservative Government further erode our right to strike” said Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield Trade Union Council. “It’s time to end their unsustainable, unfair and unpopular pay restraint policy and fully fund inflation-linked pay rises to all public sector workers.”

More than a million public sector workers have voted overwhelmingly for strike in reaction to the Tory Government’s brutal and miserly below-inflation pay offers. Whilst CPI inflation has risen well above 10% for months on end (RPI inflation which unions see as more accurate put the figure higher at up to 14%), the Government’s offers to public sector range from just over 2% to civil servants, to 5% to teachers and until recently no offer at all to train drivers. Meanwhile top company CEOs received an astonishing 39% average pay rise last year (that’s more than three times the rate of inflation!) and the gap between rich and poor has opened up like a chasm over recent years.  Many private sector workers have seen wage rises well in excess of 6%. The Government’s argument that pay rises are inflationary doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The current cost of living crisis has been caused by profiteering and speculation due to shortages of supply, not by wages going up. Holding pay down below inflation not only exacerbates the hardship faced by working class families, it is also pushing the economy further into recession by suppressing demand.

Instead of addressing the industrial relations crisis they have caused, the Government is pushing the Minimum Services Bill through to undermine our fundamental right to strike. Workers who have voted for strike action in a legal postal ballot will be forced to cross their own picket lines to work, or face the sack. This will overturn previous legislation that protects workers from the sack if they take legal strike action. Furthermore, trade unions who cannot guarantee their members will cross picket lines to provide the minimum service can be sued and potentially made bankrupt. No other country in Europe has such draconian anti-union and anti-strike legislation.

“The right of workers to peacefully withdraw their labour is a fundamental human right in a democratic society,” said Martin Mayer. “We are truly on a slippery slope to an authoritarian state if this legislation goes through. That’s why we support the TUC’s call for a National Day of Action to Protect the Right to Strike on Wednesday 1st February. Our demonstration and rally in Sheffield will be replicated in Leeds and Hull in our region, and in cities across the whole country. We call on everyone to join us!”



For comment please contact Martin Mayer on 0776 107 8482


Many workers on the lowest pay aren’t in a union and can’t fight back. They are really suffering now as the cost of living crisis hits them the hardest. Sheffield TUC says all workers should join a union, especially workers on low pay. Our Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise campaign is there to help. We are helping to fund a Union Organiser in Sheffield with our partner the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union to help low paid workers get organised and fight to raise their pay and conditions, including by strike action. Low pay not only means workers cannot live to an acceptable standard, it makes our working-class communities poorer and is bad for the local economy. For Sheffield to prosper we must end low pay now!

Please contact our Union Organiser Jesse Palmer 07808 198150 or email