On November 29, the Sun asked the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber to write 200 words setting out the case for the day of action. But the Sun refused to publish the article. Here’s what he said.
“This government cancelled the tax on bankers’ bonuses. Instead it has brought in a nurses’, teachers’ and lollipop ladies’ tax.
This is what the increase in pension contributions – around £1,000 a year for a nurse – really means. It is not paying for pensions but going straight to the Treasury to fill the hole left by the bonus tax.
It takes a lot to get Brits to strike. Yet the government has driven millions of its own staff to stop work, including unions that have never gone on strike before such as head-teachers. They are not stupid or manipulated by union leaders, but ordinary decent people doing important jobs taking a stand as a last resort.
We know the strike will cause difficulties today, and we regret that. But it’s proved to be the only language the government understands.
I’ve been leading talks with ministers for months. But they were going nowhere. It’s only when we called a day of action that government started to move. Ministers should listen carefully today to their staff, and get stuck into trying to reach the fair negotiated settlement that unions want.”