Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/649/10702
A united battle for pensions
On top of the fight against cuts is the battle to save the pensions of five million public sector workers. The government has told us to expect to pay 3% more in our pension contribution rate from April, taking it to nearly 9%-10% of our salary. Then they are coming back for more.
The decision of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) executive to ballot on pensions in the next couple of months is a step that should be grasped by all the public sector unions to prepare for a public sector wide general strike in defence of pensions.
Incredibly, some at the top of Unison are arguing that it is too 'premature' to ballot with the NUT as "we don't know the exact detail of the Hutton proposals until April". It is clear that the death warrant has been signed, but Unison's leaders would have us waiting until we are on the gallows before saying we could do anything about it.
The public sector unions must launch the campaign to save our pensions. Even Unison general secretary Dave Prentis has said this was the issue that there would be united national action on.
Public sector workers forced the New Labour government into a retreat on pensions in 2006 - now we can do the same to the Con-Dems. A massive strike that could force the government to back down would give enormous confidence to workers that this government can be beaten.
A Unison member
In The Socialist 1 December 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party editorial
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis