Brendan Barber 'regrets strike disruption'

 

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said of the strike action today: "I genuinely regret the disruption and inconvenience that these kinds of actions cause, but I think people do realise that sometimes it is right to take a stand. Public sector workers are saying to the Government 'you have got to negotiate in a fair way'.

"All union represented health service workers have been clear in ensuring that essential services are maintained so that public safety and any threat of life are attended to in a proper way. That guarantee is there.

"I think the public realise that the reason this strike is going ahead is because of the intransigence from the Government and their determination to simply force changes through.

"Yesterday we saw a massive attack on the public sector. We are now told that after two years of pay freezes public sector workers pay is going to be held down for a further two years."

Speaking at the St Pancras Hospital picket  in London after Mr Barber had addressed union members, a striking hospital admin worker, who gave his name as Andy, said: "My partner and I both work for the NHS, we are taking action, which we don't do lightly, but we feel our pensions are under attack.

"We have already had a pay freeze and there are threats of job losses. It is unfair that we are asked to pay more and receive less as well as being expected to work for longer.

"[The pension offer] is a tax on working class people to pay for a crisis caused by the failure of the banks. Why are the bankers not being taxed and still receiving their bonuses?

"We don't want a race to the bottom, we would like to see everyone in the private sector as well joining the union and taking action because we are fighting for everyone.

After a passing cyclist shouted 'get back to work', he said: "There will always be people who think we are just lazy and want a day off but I get frustrated when I see headlines in the press which seem to attack unions and workers for wanting to take action to defend their pay and conditions.

"We are demonised when we are decent human beings working hard to make a living and to provide public services. I ask what people who tell us to 'get back to work' what they would do if they were in my position.

"If the union voted for more strikes in future, I would walk out again.

A coalition of unions, including the PCS, the FDA - which represents the senior civil servants - and claimants of disability allowance manned the picket line outside HMRC's offices in Euston Tower.

Anna, a PCS member said: "We have been told by George Osborne that we are in for years more pain. We know the money is there but it is going to the rich.

"This is what it really means for us to all be in it together."

Janet, a member of UCH staff, said: "People have said they can't afford to strike, I am here because I can't afford not to. We are part of a revolt which is going on all over the world.

Claire, a member of the Disability Rights Campaign, said: "Those of us who claim are workers. It is hard coping with disability in an inaccessible environment.

"It is hard work having to plan even the simplest journey in great detail.

"And now we have private companies throwing people off disability benefits; people with terminal cancer are being turned into job seekers while they start their Chemotherapy. We will fight the Welfare Reform Bill."

News
University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
newsFrom a former custard factory to a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz