Not necessarily, despite a report in this morning’s Times warning of an “autumn of discontent” involving lots of unions.
As I report in today’s ft.com, the TUC’s general council met last month to discuss whether to kick off a huge protest this October or next March. Rapid action this autumn was urged by some of the smaller firebrand unions (PCS, FBU, RMT etc).
But the more moderate unions – and the bigger ones – successfully argued the case for next March. Their argument was that the public would be more likely to back a campaign once the public have seen the impact of the cuts first-hand.
That won’t necessarily be true in the autumn; given that the painful spending review isn’t until October 20. For this compelling reason the unions agreed a huge national rally in London in seven months’ time where they hope to get hundreds of thousands of workers out.
The PCS (which represents civil servants) is going ahead unilaterally with a protest on October 20. It is still trying to ignite a national protest for October 23. (Neither day would involve strikes, incidentally). The motion will generate sympathy, but may not win multilateral support, as Rene Lavanchy points out. A PCS spokesman tells me that strikes are “almost inevitable” at some point; hard to see it happening until the winter, however.