Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/715/14391

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 April 2012

Pension cuts, job cuts, service cuts

We're striking back on 10 May

On the 30 November strike in Newcastle, photo by Elaine Brunskill

On the 30 November strike in Newcastle, photo by Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

John McInally, National vice-president, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), personal capacity

The PCS executive committee has called national strike action on 10 May (M10) as part of a united campaign with other unions. Strikes will take place in three of the four sectors being affected by the government's attacks on pensions - civil service, health and education.

This M10 trade union coalition is needed to challenge a government of millionaires which is trying to force low-paid workers to pay more, work longer and get less in their pensions.

Bristol PCS on the 30 June 2011 coordinated public sector strike of PCS NUT, UCU and other unions, photo Matt Carey

Bristol PCS on the 30 June 2011 coordinated public sector strike of PCS NUT, UCU and other unions, photo Matt Carey

The government's aim is to cut pensions to make privatisation more 'affordable'. They want to cut or destroy the vital services that bind our communities together and allow their banking and big business paymasters to squeeze as much profit out of what remains.

But there's 120 billion in uncollected taxes, largely from the rich. Big business is sitting on over 750 billion that they could invest to create jobs. Not one cut to our public services is necessary.

The M10 action will be on the day after the Queen's Speech, which will set out the coalition government's next set of cuts. This includes forcing through more pension changes that will mean civil and public service workers paying more each month and working up to eight years longer. They also have plans for regional and local pay which, if implemented, would mean lengthy pay freezes for many in the most deprived areas of Britain.

Attack on pensions

The attack on pensions is a critical element of the government's assault on working people. To concede on pensions would give the Con-Dems a green light to step up their attacks.

The pensions battle gives the trade union movement the chance to build the widest coalition to stop the government's plans. 30 November saw the biggest strike in modern history and the government was shaken. If that action had continued, there is no doubt the government would have been stopped. And it still can be!

The government has given no concessions on the core issues on pensions of paying more, working longer and getting less. So it was a major error by the TUC leadership to fall for the government's divide and rule tactics and accept their 'Heads of Agreement' on pensions last December. This craven behaviour risked demoralising workers and it was a major boost for the government.

Along with a number of other unions, PCS opposed this sell-out. PCS played a major role in re-building the trade union coalition. PCS's Left Unity conference in London on 7 January, which saw over 500 activists from all public sector unions come together to build a fightback, was a critical turning point.

In an indicative ballot, 90% of members voted to reject the government's offer and 72% supported further action. Members voted on the clear understanding that any further action would be on the basis of a "strong campaign" capable of winning concessions. 28 March (M28) was set for the re-launch of the industrial action, but it then transpired that key allies in the alliance could not or would not take part.

The situation was quite simple, the alliance could not deliver the type of action our members expected. Rather than press ahead with M28, the PCS national executive voted to spend a few weeks re-building the coalition so that successful action could be organised.

In the middle of a battle it is important to aim for maximum unity. Members and activists were disappointed that M28 did not go ahead but understood the reasons.

We wanted to wait a few weeks to deliver effective action - as will now happen - on the basis of a greatly strengthened alliance. That alliance will now be bigger than the 30 June strikes and covers three out of the four pensions sectors - civil service, education and health.

Building in strength

The pensions battle is building in strength as workers realise the full scale of the attacks. On 10 May other unions, including Unite in health and the civil service, Northern Ireland's main public service union Nipsa, lecturers' union UCU, whose executive is to make a formal decision to strike this week, and RMT in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will take part.

Teachers' union NUT is meeting to make decisions on regional rolling action and national action, including in June.

The Police Federation will also be holding a 25,000 strong demonstration on London on 10 May against attacks on their pensions, jobs and pay and privatisation. The British Medical Association is also balloting its members.

Crucially, the GMB is balloting for rejection of the deal. This is a significant development. While the union will not take part on M10 it raises the prospect that one of the biggest public sector unions could be part of a growing coalition. By the summer we could see action on a far bigger scale than many thought likely.

To carry out its pensions cuts, the government needs to introduce legislation that can take up to nine months. And the whole package doesn't come into full force until 2015, giving us 18 months to two years to stop them or win concessions

The government, with the shameful connivance of TUC leader Brendan Barber and Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, have tried to give the impression that the pensions dispute is all done and dusted. Their instruction from Labour leader Ed Miliband is clearly: "don't rock the boat guys".

But this dispute is only just beginning. The choice will be bow down and let these gangsters kick us into the ground, or fight back. PCS will continue to be at the forefront of this battle.


The Socialist says:

Make the M10 strike a success

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


In The Socialist 25 April 2012:


Fighting the government's attacks

We're striking back on 10 May


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS faces more cuts

The ugly truth behind the latest unemployment figures

Brighton: Mass protest counters racist EDL

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Interview: 'get organised to support workers in struggle'


Socialist Party May Day Greetings

May Day Greetings in The Socialist newspaper


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers' Memorial Day 28 April

Jobs threat at CSC

Claps and cheers greet Remploy marchers in Sheffield

Workplace news in brief


Vote TUSC in May

Vote for a socialist alternative

Build a socialist alternative to austerity

Hundreds of Liverpool Sure Start parents demonstrate against cuts

Labour - no friend of trade unions

Gateshead campaigners told to 'move house' if they don't like waste-site plans

TUSC campaigns round-up


International socialist news and analysis

Argentina: Nationalisation provokes wrath of imperialism

France: Left Front vote shows potential for new workers' party


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 April 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  




Related links:

Pension:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

Cuts:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

Government:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

Pensions:

trianglePlymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Union:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

PCS:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Pay:

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Trade union:

triangleObituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

Civil Service:

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

TUC:

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

Public sector:

trianglePCS union says no to pay misery

Privatisation:

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

John McInally:

triangleIncreased majority for Democracy Alliance

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

13/12/17

Brexit

Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

13/12/17

Housing

Two in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

13/12/17

Fees

Uni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

13/12/17

Retail

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

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