Union boss warns strikes may return in new year

The new year will bring a fresh round of strikes over pensions, pay and job cuts, a senior official for one of Britain's largest trade unions warned yesterday.

Private-sector workers, emboldened by recent industrial action by the public sector over pensions, will begin "kicking back" against compulsory redundancies, bringing about a "resurgence in the traditional strength of the unions", said Brian Stratton, a leading moderate in the GMB union.

"This year was hard, 2012 is going to be much, much harder," he said yesterday. "November 30 [the day of the national strike over pensions] was a real boost for the unions. It has given the whole union movement a lot of confidence going into next year.

"Next year we will have pretty well run out of those who would volunteer for redundancy so you start getting into compulsory redundancies. That is when your members start kicking back," Mr Stratton added.

The GMB union has over 600,000 members in both the public and private sectors.