Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12284

Posted on 24 June 2011 at 16:37 GMT

National Pensioners Convention parliament

Support for workers on 30 June

Val and Terry Pearce, Bracknell Socialist Party

1,500 pensioners from all over Britain attended the National Pensioners Convention parliament in Blackpool on 14-16 June. The parliament was preceded by a march, led by a band through the streets of Blackpool to the Winter Gardens.

Marchers were clapped by the onlookers who enthusiastically took the leaflets being handed out.

The mood of the delegates was a mixture of anger and determination to fight back against the policies of the coalition government which represent a vicious attack on pensions and public services.

During the opening rally speaker after speaker attacked the policies of the current government, ranging from the effects of the cuts in public services, the massive tax fraud and avoidance carried out by the rich and representatives of the capitalist class, to the abuse of the elderly both in their homes as well as some care homes.

Guest speakers

Billy Hayes from the Communication Workers Union and Karen Jennings from Unison both spoke and highlighted the attacks by the government on their members and expressed solidarity with pensioners.

Many in the audience however thought that the time for talk was over and what is needed is concerted action from the trade unions. The following day saw the appearance of pensions' minister, Steve Webb, who gave a slick and slippery presentation of the government's pensions policy.

He was heckled several times from the floor and was challenged over the coalition's plan to cut Winter Fuel Allowances, change the indexation of pensions from the higher RPI rate to the lower CPI, and on the poverty level of pensions.

He was also challenged over the fact that the National Insurance fund has 40 billion in it which should and could be used to increase the state pension.

Workshops

A number of important questions were discussed more fully in workshops run throughout the event dealing with subjects such as the future of the NHS, age equality, social care and older people and the 'Big Society'.

In the NHS session Dr John Lister from Keep Our NHS Public exposed the phoney nature of the so-called 'pause' by the government on changes to the NHS and explained that the central core of the reform remains the privatisation of the NHS.

He said the Tories intend to take the provision of health care back to pre-1945 and that Cameron is finishing what Thatcher started. The reality is that 'choice' in the NHS will mean 'go private or go without'.

Speakers from the audience called for the return of Community Health Councils to safeguard patients' rights and demanded a more pro-active approach from the unions.

In the session on social care, Chris Tansley from Unison highlighted the dangers of privatisation of social care provision and the fact that by 2020 there will be no council care homes left, and that five private care providers are likely to go out of business.

We are witnessing the total privatisation of social care and the emergence of `casino care homes` as residents become victims of the private sector. Contributors in the audience recounted horror stories from their own areas, of care home closures and cuts to social care staff.

'Big Society'

The session on Cameron's 'Big Society' showed the sheer hypocrisy of this concept. We are seeing the destruction of many local community and voluntary groups who, at a time of increasing demand for their services, have become a casualty of the government's cuts.

At the same time we are seeing the shutdown of public services and these services being contracted out to either private or voluntary/charity organisations.

An example of this was reported in the Independent on 15 February 2011: "LSSI, an American firm which manages 13 public libraries across the US, has set itself a target to manage libraries in eight British local authorities by the end of the year and to capture 15% of the market within five years".

Local services under private control will only be responsible to their shareholders and if handed over to charities the demands of the whole community would be overlooked by a smaller interest group.

The consensus of the meeting was that the Big Society is a Conservative con to privatise and make cuts to essential local services.

United struggle

On the first day of the parliament the Socialist Party set up a stall outside the Winter Gardens. There was a good response from delegates and passers-by, with 25 copies of the Socialist sold, many names added to our petition and 31 collected.

Over 100 copies of the National Shop Stewards Network bulletin were handed out during the march and at the stall. The parliament was very inspiring and time and time again delegates expressed the view that today's pensioners are fighting not only for themselves but also for tomorrow's pensioners.

We will not allow the government to divide us from the youth; we are in a united struggle. Support for the strikes on 30 June came from the platform and this was enthusiastically agreed by delegates.

The changing mood in society was reflected in the parliament, delegates realise that pensioners cannot win alone - an injury to one is an injury to all.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 24 June 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Pensioners:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleBT attack on pension benefits

triangle'Freedom riders' lobby against violent policing

trianglePensioners oppose DUP deal

NHS:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTyneside walk-in closures postponed after rally

triangleBranson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

Pensions:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

trianglePlymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

Cuts:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleEnd Tory war on poor

Public services:

trianglePFI privateers dodge tax

Privatisation:

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

Care Homes:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2