Public sector pay was frozen in 2010 and since 2012 has been capped at an annual 1% rise until the end of the 2015-16 financial year — even though inflation has been running at between 2-4% for the last few years (CPI inflation is currently at 1.5% but RPI, which includes housing costs, is at 2.4%). This has obviously created a disparity between living costs and wages.
Other unions are joining the strike with their own disputes over pay and cost cutting. Firefighters are on strike between 10am-7pm in an ongoing dispute over pensions, and will also carry out a series of strikes between 14-21 July. The PCS union has submitted a claim for a 5% pay increase and Unison points out its local government members are mostly low paid to begin with. You can read more statements from the NUT, GMB and Unite.
A march and rally is planned for 10 July, assembling at BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place from 11.30am and marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally between 1-2pm.
Staff at Croydon leisure centres are also striking against pay disparity from the private company who runs the facilities. It’s expected that centres in the borough will be closed on Thursday.
Photo by Chris Marchant from the Londonist Flickr pool