Applications to join UNISON have rocketed by 126% since last month as members prepare to join Wednesday’s strikes.
An overwhelming 81% of these applications have come from women – reflecting exactly who women are turning to for support.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: “Throughout the pensions dispute, public sector workers have been joining UNISON in their droves. And the applications to join are coming overwhelmingly from women – a whopping 81%.
“Public sector workers are turning to their union for support – not this government. The government is trying to paint a picture of macho union leaders squaring up for a fight, but it will be mainly women public sector workers out in force on 30 November – women who are angry and feel let down by the pension changes. Their aggressive policies – policies that are hitting women hard – are turning them off. The government is right to be worried about losing the women’s vote.
“The applications to join spike every time Danny Alexander is on his feet in the house, talking about his plans for public sector pensions. The day he made his statement in the house, on the eve of our ballot result, saw the largest spike in UNISON membership ever recorded.
“We have said from the start that we want to reach a negotiated settlement – and we are still willing to talk anyplace, anytime. The fact is, we still have no firm offer that we can put to our members, and we are bound by the Tories own anti-strike laws to take industrial action, or our ballot will be deemed invalid. Our members do not take strike action lightly – but the coalition is pushing them too far.”
On Wednesday, UNISON’s 1.1 million members in public sector schemes working in the NHS, in local government, further education, higher education, school support, police staff, PCSOs and water, energy and transport and in the community and voluntary sector, will join more than 20 unions in taking industrial action over government ministers’ plans to make detrimental changes to their pensions.
* UnionNews will be reporting live from Sheffield on Wednesday and will be running a live blog with reports from picket lines and rallies right across the UK. Follow our Twitter feed @UnionNewsUK or tell us your stories on the day by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.