Warning bells should be sounding in Westminster in the run up to Christmas. While the government gears up for the recess and festive celebrations, hard-pressed families across the UK are wondering how they are going to put a turkey on the table this year. What a seriously bleak midwinter for the 2.64million now unemployed and the millions of low paid workers, suffering from pay freezes in the face of high inflation.
Nurses, teaching assistants, social workers, dinner ladies and paramedics are lining up at the picket lines to protect their pensions during the biggest strike in living memory. UNISON has said from the start that we want to reach a negotiated settlement, and that still stands. We were willing to take part in scheme specific talks, right up until 30 November and we are still committed to continuing negotiations. Action is a last resort, but after eight months of negotiations we still have no firm offer to put to a single public sector worker.