News / Public sector unions prepare for strikes

SHETLAND looks set to join the rest of the country in a winter of industrial action as public sector unions ballot on strike action.

On Monday night Shetland Islands Council and NHS members of public sector union Unison meet for a briefing on the dispute over pensions.

Regional organiser John Keggie is addressing the meeting at Lerwick’s Clickimin Leisure Complex to explain why the union is encouraging a yes vote.

Speaking before the meeting, branch chairman Brian Smith said that he fully expected members nationwide to vote for a 24 hour strike on 30 November, which would be followed by further action throughout the country, including Shetland.

“The government are proposing that we pay more and that we work longer and they are changing the way that benefits are calculated so that we get a smaller pension when we retire,” Mr Smith said.

“This is not a proposal to make the pension funds more viable, because these funds are actually in splendid shape. It’s a proposal to siphon off funds from these pension funds to deal with the deficit.


“This is grossly unfair and people are extremely annoyed about it. I am certain there will be a yes vote and we are likely to see industrial action taking place in Shetland over the next few months.”

Unison has 1,300 members in Shetland, and more than 1 million UK-wide, but several unions representing staff in councils, schools, the health service and other public sector jobs are also balloting their members.

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