Chancellor George Osborne has confounded his critics by suggesting a series of wildcat, 24-hour public sector strikes. In a notable shift from his earlier stance on industrial action, Osborne embraced the idea, claiming he came up with it in the first place.
"In order to reduce the national debt, I'm encouraging people in the public sector to go a day without pay", announced Osborne, "perhaps you could start straight away? I'm sure my fellow public workers will show their support for my idea, I feel obliged to take the day off too. I shall stand outside Number 11 and burn a little effigy of myself, to 'fan the flames' of the economy. Feel free to join in, the more the merrier. "
Union leaders rejected the Chancellor’s call to join him in forgoing a day’s pay, pointing out that they had a lot more to lose. “Running a union is technically a private sector job, so it’s important that I’m on hand to draw on all my years’ experience of earning £500k per annum ”, explained Unite leader Derek Simpson. “Obviously, we only propose strikes when it’s for the benefit of our members, and nothing gives the little fellas more of a boost than seeing me on telly, cheering them on and taking the credit.” Simpson pointed out that fewer public sector workers would lead to a smaller union, “That puts too much of a burden on those that are left, they’re already struggling to keep me in my massive grace-and-favour house.”
Whilst union leaders and politicians failed to reach an agreement on who had come up with the idea of not working, Osborne was quick to offer to extend the idea to a more permanent arrangement, particularly among council employees in Labour’s heartland. "I want to show the electorate that I'm listening to them. If they tell me they want to stop working and not get paid, I'm more than happy to oblige. We need to find answers to some difficult questions, such as ‘do we really need schools in the North East?’.”
Ed Miliband looked slightly surprised when he heard an argument had broken out over exactly who’s strike it was, the strongest indication yet that he's still conscious. Meanwhile the rest of the British public resigned themselves to their part in the spat between millionaires . “I’m bailing out the banks the only way I know how”, explained one tired-looking office worker. “I’m applying for another credit card, so I can afford to buy fuel to get to work.”