Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 16:42 UK

Unions back cuts protest action

Job Centre Plus
The TUC is warning that unemployment could hit four million if there are cuts

Union members have backed calls for industrial action against any planned jobs cuts in the public services.

Delegates at the TUC congress in Liverpool approved a motion opposing any redundancies in the public sector as a way of making savings.

Officials earlier warned the government against "panic measures" to tackle high debt levels, saying moves to cut public spending would "deepen" the crisis.

Ministers say they will protect current spending until the recession ends.

'Joint action'

However, they have warned of "tough choices" on spending once the recovery is underway.

Unions say any reduction in levels of existing spending now would be disastrous and lengthen the recession.

A motion from public service union Unison, saying any cutback in spending would "damage" vital services and "ultimately impair economic recovery", was passed unanimously.

It called on members to "support, co-ordinate and encourage joint union action, including industrial action, in pursuit of these objectives".

The motion also called for jobs already cut to be reinstated, an end to further privatisation, and no pay cuts in the public sector.

It demanded a "payback tax" on the profits of financial institutions "that have benefited from public money".

'Off a cliff'

Earlier, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the economy had "fallen off a cliff", adding that it was "only when vital public services are safe from cuts that we will be able to talk about a real recovery".

Unions are worried that the government's stated aim of halving its budget deficit - expected to reach £175bn this year - within four years will damage public services and lead to mass redundancies.

The Conservatives have said ministers should begin to reduce public spending now and have pledged to do so immediately should they win the next election.

Mr Barber warned that the number of unemployed could reach four million if investment is removed.

In a speech to the think-tank Progress Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said Labour had gone through a "necessary period of catch-up in public service provision" but added it was not an "eternal doctrine" Labour had to keep spending at the same rate.

He also promised the government would try to create economic conditions which would "enable us to maintain frontline service delivery".

The TUC's annual congress, which precedes the main party conference season, runs until Thursday.

Print Sponsor

TUC rejects claims of UK recovery
14 Sep 09 |  UK Politics
Labour 'must not lose its nerve'
14 Sep 09 |  UK Politics
TUC warns of four million jobless
14 Sep 09 |  UK Politics
PM says UK recovering but fragile
13 Sep 09 |  UK Politics
Union talks 'constructive' - PM
11 Sep 09 |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific