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Strikes in UK: Political vocabulary

There is a glossary to help you with the more difficult words to do with strikes below the text. Tomorrow we will look at the progressive grammar involved in this text.   Thousands of public sector workers are protesting in the streets today about the political row over pensions. The 24-hour walkout is being held after several unions combined forces to show their anger at government plans to reform pensions. The proposals mean that people will have to work for longer before they retire and also pay more to their pension contributions every month. It is the biggest national strike for over 30 years and hospitals, schools, public transport and courts are all being effected by today’s walkout. Millions of children are having the day off school today as teachers and heads are picketing at school gates across the country, closing 75% of England’s schools for the day. Heathrow airport was preparing for major disruption and were warning customers yesterday that they could expect a 2 or 3-hour wait in border queues. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “There are going to be queues, but we have contigency plans in place to lessen the impact of the strikes.” However, passengers landing there today said that border controls were ‘better than normal’. One regular passenger who arrived from the USA today said that getting through the airport was better than usual: “They were giving out free fruit and water, which they don’t usually do!” A spokesman for Heathrow said: We have over 400 additional customer services staff in our terminals. They are giving 24-hour support to passengers, providing information, food, drink and children’s activity packs.

What the main players said

The leader of the biggest union, TUC told a rally: ‘The government are scrapping the bankers’ bonus tax and are replacing it with a teachers, nurses and lollipop ladies tax!’ One of the government’s junior ministers called the strike-action unnecessary and said that the government was continuing negotiations with the unions. The General Secretary of the NASUWT teaching union said: The government is claiming publicly that they want to get round the table, when actually ministers have not called a meeting…that is misleading Another union leader said: People should be very proud of the stand they are making today, in contrast to the shame of the government. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in a BBC interview: I’m not picking a fight with anyone. I’m trying to deal with this country’s debts that were racked up in the good years and unfortunately, now that we are in the difficult years, we are paying them off.

Strikes Vocabulary

public sector workers
jobs that get paid by the government
pension
The monthly money that you get when you are retired
union
an association of workers that protects the rights of members
pension contribution
the money that a worker pays every month so that they have money when they retire
strike
organised protest where people stop work in the hope of gaining something from their employer
to picket
a group of people standing outside a workplace protesting about something. This is to encourage other workers NOT to go into work i.e. not to cross the 'picket line'
disruption
stop or interrupt an activity/even by causing a problem
contingency plan
course of action designed to consider a future event and mean that a possible problem is not so big
rally
a big meeting of people making a political protest
negotiation
discussion with an aim of reaching an agreement
get round the table
(saying) to negotiate
misleading
deliberately make someone have the wrong idea about a situation
stand
(noun) a position taken in an argument/an opinion in a particular subject
to pick a fight
to talk or behave so that you provoke an argument or more
to rack up
to accumulate/to gradually build up
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