TUC pressed over 'general strike'

Hillingdon Times: Ed Miliband spoke out against strike action Ed Miliband spoke out against strike action

Union anger over the Government's austerity cuts is set to flare when the TUC will be pressed to consider the practicalities of organising a general strike.

Delegates at the TUC Congress in Brighton are expected to back calls by the Prison Officers Association (POA) for co-ordinated action and "far reaching" campaigns, including the "consideration and practicalities" of a general strike.

On Monday night, Labour leader Ed Miliband told union leaders that their members and the public did not want strikes.

The Labour leader attended a dinner with the TUC General Council in Brighton, where the annual TUC Congress is being held, and said people were angry with the Government over the economy.

The question was how best to get the coalition to change course, said Mr Miliband, adding that neither the public nor union members wanted to see strikes.

"The way to sort out the problems the country faces is for the Government to understand why working people are so unhappy. It's because the economic plan is failing, it's unfair. They need to change before greater long-term damage is done," he said.

The general council decided to support the POA motion, which will pile fresh pressure on the coalition in its long-running conflict with millions of public sector workers.

The prospect of a fresh wave of strikes by teachers and other public sector workers is drawing closer, as well as calls for direct action against government policies.

Members of the two biggest teaching unions will launch a campaign of industrial action short of a strike from September 26, with the threat of walkouts later this year over pay, pensions, jobs and increased workloads.

Asked about calls for a general strike against the Government's austerity programme, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "Obviously we think that strike action benefits no-one."

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