Norwich Labour candidate hits out at Ed Miliband line on strikes

Clive Lewis. Labour party Clive Lewis. Labour party

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
4:37 PM

Labour’s Norwich South candidate has lashed out at his party’s refusal to support tomorrow’s strikes, claiming its line is “profoundly disappointing”.

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Thousands of council workers, teachers and school support staff across Norfolk will strike over what they claim is an “insulting” pay offer.

Schools will be shut and council services will be hit as members of trade unions UNISON, GMB, Unite take industrial action over a pay offer of 1pc for those earning more than £14,880.

Ed Miliband’s spokesman has refused to support the strikes, saying: “We don’t want to see strikes happening, but the best way to stop them happening is for the Government to avoid ramping up the rhetoric.”

Mr Lewis, a former BBC journalist who now works as a technician at the corporation, took to Twitter last night, saying: “Just read the official Lab Party line on July10 strikes.Profoundly disappointed.Ill be proud to suppt & march with them 4decent pay&pensions.” (Sic)

The former army officer will be joining unions for their joint demonstration in Norwich City Centre at midday tomorrow, and will be speaking at the rally in Chapelfield Gardens.

He said: “No one participating in this strike has taken such action lightly. We all know they care passionately about the public services they provide. Services we all rely on. Services they’ve kept up and running despite ever deepening Coalition cuts.

“That’s why I’m proud to be joining them tomorrow. Proud of the thousands of teachers, dinner ladies, street cleaners, bin collectors, care workers, teaching assistants and the vital roles they perform. Because without them we’d be lost.”

“For too long they’ve had to bear the brunt of the austerity measures that have been imposed by this government. Their pay has gone up only 1pc since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales. And all this while FTSE 100 CEOs have seen a cumulative 480pc pay rise since 1998.

“The top 10pc are now sitting on more wealth (including financial, property and assets) than the entire bottom half of our population. This isn’t trickle-down economics, it’s a torrent-up and it’s wrong.”

A Labour spokesman said: “No-one wants to see a strike, not least because of the impact on children and parents. Instead of ramping up the rhetoric the Government should get round the table, because both sides have a responsibility to stop it happening.”

The party has refused to condem the strikes, saying: “We don’t think we should get into the language of condemnation because that just ramps up the rhetoric. We don’t want to see strikes happening – which is why both sides need to get round the table to resolve this.”

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