GMB supports local government worker strike with parodies

Saatchi & Saatchi's famous "Labour isn't working ad, created for the Conservative Party in 1979, has been adapted by the GMB trade union for a campaign in support of the strike by local government workers.

The ads, which were adapted in-house by the union and the design agency Tattersall Hammarling & Silk, show a queue of people waiting under a "Town Hall banner and uses the strapline: "Labour isn't listening." Media buying for the campaign is by Sold Out Advertising.

GMB said it was using a parody of the Saatchis' ad, which showed people waiting in a dole queue, to highlight the fact that council workers are less well off than employees in 1979. The original ad, written by M&C Saatchi's founding partner Jeremy Sinclair while at Saatchis, is widely credited with helping to bring Margaret Thatcher to power.

This week's strike saw more than 500,000 local government workers walking out of schools, leisure centres and libraries across the country on Wednesday. It was organised by unions including Unison and the Transport and General Workers Union in a dispute over a "derisory" 3 per cent pay rise. They want a 6 per cent rise or £1,750, whichever is the greatest.

A GMB spokesman said the response to the ads had been good. "People weren't aware that workers such as teachers earned so little. The ad campaign has really helped drive that message, he said.

The union's leader, John Edmonds, attacked council leaders and revealed that some had taken increases in personal allowances of up to 148 per cent.

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