Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/709/14129
Fight back against attacks on pensions
Nick Parker, President, Lincoln and District TUC
Work longer. Pay more. Get less. These three attacks on public sector pensions led to 30 November - the biggest strike in recent British history. The three attacks on the table have not substantially changed.
Millions of working people will look at their pay packets next month and see that they've had extra to pay in contributions to fund the bailout of the bankers and shore up the British economy.
And so, a group of key trade unions including PCS, NUT and UCU are preparing to call on their members to strike again on 28 March, following the outcome of consultative ballots.
I don't want to use this opportunity to have a go at the leaders of unions who aren't striking. Their members can weigh up for themselves if they saw the magnificent strike on 30 November as a "damage limitation exercise", as one leading trade union leader said.
What I would like to do though is to call on as many working people as possible, in the public and private sector, if not taking strike action that day, to think about taking annual leave or a long lunch and join your striking brothers and sisters on the picket lines and the lunchtime demonstrations.
Just like the Roman empire, this government relies on the tactics of 'divide and conquer'. Public sector versus private sector. Old versus young. And now, they hope, union versus union.
It is our task to defeat the attempts to divide our movement. In reality, the government is weak - like a punch-drunk boxer. Our task is to give it a knock-out blow.
On 30 November Tory leader Cameron tried to rubbish the strike action by calling it a "damp squib". He was forced to retract. But Labour leader Ed Miliband failed to back the action.
Let's draw the lessons from this and start to build strong, fighting trade unions and a new mass political force rooted in the trade unions and the working class communities who will back trade union members when forced to take action against the coalition government.
- The TUC Womens Conference has voted to support any industrial action to defend or improve pensions.
- The teachers' union NUT will be restarting action on pensions with a regional strike in London on 28 March. This is subject to urgent consultation with the London divisions of the union.
In The Socialist 15 March 2012:
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