Disabled workers suffering more than any other group from coalition’s ‘ideological austerity’, union leader will say
The government will be accused on Wednesday of being “fundamentally dishonest” about its policies towards disabled people.
The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, will tell a conference that workers with disabilities are being hit more than other groups by the coalition’s austerity cuts.
At the Disabled Workers Conference he will say: “No group of people is more affected by the government’s savage, ideological austerity than disabled workers. It’s no exaggeration to say that when it comes to disability, there is a fundamental dishonesty about government policy.
“The coalition is keen to promote the language of fairness and is keen to stress the opportunities available to disabled people, but the truth could not be more different. Nowhere is the dichotomy between rhetoric and reality starker than when it comes to benefits – a lifeline for so many disabled people.
The Unite union, which represents 28,000 bus workers, claims operators in the capital are “forcing” a clash with staff over extra pay during the Games.
Bus workers want a £500 Olympic payment to reward the extra work they say will be required of them, but Unite says a deadline for negotiation with bosses have been missed without any meetings being held.
Unite points out that other transport workers in London have been offered extra pay for working during the Olympics, and said Transport for London was predicting an extra 800,000 passengers on the London bus network during the event.
Peter Kavanagh, Unite regional secretary for London, said: “London’s bus operators are doing their staff, passengers and the capital a huge disservice by refusing to even meet with Unite to discuss a reasonable Olympic payment.
“Virtually every other public transport worker in London will receive an Olympic payment.
“Our members are ready to meet the challenge of this summer’s games. Bus workers will face huge pressures as a result of an extra 800,000 passengers using the London bus network, but their employers won’t even meet to discuss the workers’ contribution.
Read more in London24
BUS operator Stagecoach has reassured passengers that daytime services will be running nearly as normal during planned industrial action in South Yorkshire over the next fortnight.
The company has drafted in more than 100 relief drivers to run routes in Barnsley, Rotherham and the Dearne Valley, despite strike action by the Unite union on Monday next week and December 2-3.
Stagecoach also confirmed that services in Sheffield will be unaffected and all school buses will run as normal during the action.
Managers said a near-normal level of service is planned between 7am and 6pm on the affected dates, with a special £1 flat single fare for adults in operation. Megarider tickets, child and pensioners’ free passes will be accepted as normal.
Read more in Yorkshire Post
Unions will open up a legal front tomorrow in their bitter row with the Government over pensions, arguing that a switch in the way increases are calculated are “unfair” to millions of workers.
Six unions are taking action in the High Court to challenge using the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the traditionally higher retail price index (RPI) for the annual increase in public sector pensions.
The move, which came into effect in April, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the June 2010 budget, with unions arguing it was done without any consultation or negotiation, purely as a deficit reduction measure.
Unions claimed that because CPI is around 1.2% lower on average than RPI, the loss to existing public sector pensioners will be around 15%, with the change already affecting staff currently paying into career average schemes.
The unions’ case is that the move was not permitted under social security legislation, and that it reneged on assurances given by successive governments that RPI would apply
Read more in The Independent