Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/707/14064
Continuing the pensions battle - Universities
Ivan Bonsell University worker, personal capacity
University workers face cuts, privatisation and outsourcing as the government seeks to turn universities into profit-generating units for their rich friends.
Support staff at newer, post 1992 universities still retain their membership of the local government pension scheme.
They played a full role in the 30 November strike (N30), alongside millions of other public sector workers.
As Unison members, we're angry that the Higher Education service group executive (HESGE) signed up to the government's 'heads of agreement', albeit with a narrow majority.
We feel this shows how out of touch many of the SGE members are. N30 showed how the government could be forced to make concessions when faced with united, determined action.
The Unison leadership appears to be obsessed with negotiating over virtually nothing that wasn't there before.
This will be met with confusion and potentially demoralisation if we can't turn around the union strategy of capitulation. We must force the HESGE to lead the way in opposing the attack on our pension rights.
Unison activists in HE will be given the chance to show their verdict on the leadership at the HE conference on 2 March.
The left has flooded the HESGE with emergency motions aimed at democratically forcing a u-turn on the pension strategy while members in local government are calling for a special conference to allow the members to decide.
The imminent elections to the Unison service groups will, for many members act as a referendum on the battle over pensions.
We demand the right to hear all the tactical arguments debated and then the members must decide.
Socialist Party members within Unison HE think the best strategy would be to continue the campaign with our brothers and sisters in PCS, NUT and UCU and we will continue to fight for that option.
In The Socialist 29 February 2012:
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