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Don't punish the strikers

Unison has desperately sought to resolve the now bitter dispute with the Government and employers over the attacks on the Local Government Pensions Scheme.

Industrial action across local public services is a last resort, forced by the Government's refusal to protect LGPS members in line with teachers, the civil service, the police and the NHS. We are dismayed that the Association of Colleges is advising its members to treat strikers in a punitive way by reducing pay by a figure (1220th of annual salary). We will be taking action against colleges which follow AoC advice.

Unison would like to applaud the college managers who decided to close their colleges without any deductions to support-staff pay.

Many senior college managers are in the LGPS scheme, on salaries which will result in a pension far greater than the majority of staff fighting to defend it. Not only would we expect them to have the decency not to cover their striking colleagues' duties, but to consider making a donation of at least a day's pay to the strike fund. Working out the level of deduction for themselves might concentrate the mind about the sacrifices of others on their behalf.

Christine Lewis National officer and joint trade union side secretary for support staff, Unison 1 Mabledon Place London WC1

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