Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/379/4271

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 February 2005

What we think

All out to defend pensions!

AN EXPLOSION of anger has swept the public sector against New Labour's plans to cut back on pension rights. Many of the major unions are making plans to ballot their members for strike action against the government attacks, particularly the raising of the retirement age.

UNISON in local government were the first to declare for a ballot, now they are likely to be joined by PCS, Amicus, TGWU, UCATT and GMB. There is no doubt that many of these workers would have been prepared to strike long ago except for the log jam created by the anti-union laws.

In what other country would the government announce months ago that they are introducing legislation to cut council workers' pension rights but the unions cannot act until they "respond" to the government's proposals? Only then are they allowed even to set in motion the legal machinery to begin balloting their members.

Meanwhile, French workers have been striking in their millions against their government's plans to cut back the welfare state, including pension rights.

Strike

Nevertheless the strike action being planned - probably for Wednesday 23 March - will be the first time for decades that the unions have come together in action to oppose any government.

This would be the first time for decades that the public-sector unions, or at least a big proportion of them, take simultaneous strike action over the same issue.

This is no thanks to the TUC leadership, who have constantly blocked any moves to unite the unions in defence of the public sector. This includes trying to stop the PCS putting a motion on the TUC agenda that called for a day of action during working time against the pension attacks.

UNISON members will take strength from the knowledge that other unions now look likely to join them in action.

The union leaders should now pull out all the stops to ensure that the strike ballots return as big a majority as possible.

The strike by itself will not stop New Labour in its attacks on the public sector but it will be a big kick start to the campaign. There is only one language New Labour understand and that is the language of action.

200,000 civil servants went on strike last November, for the first time in over ten years, against the proposed 100,000 job cuts announced by Gordon Brown in his budget - forcing at least partial retreats from the government. The strike against pension cuts is part of the same struggle and needs the same determined action.

New Labour and Blair in particular are planning to destroy effective trade unionism in the public sector. This is the real meaning of all the attacks. They recognise that it is only the trade unions that stand between them and the complete destruction of the welfare state. Blair wants to complete in the public sector what Thatcher set out to do across industry and the workplaces 25 years ago.

The decline in trade union organisation in the private sector, where no more than 12% of the workforce is in unions, has accompanied the deregulation and 'open labour markets' without trade union representation that marks much of the private sector today. This has worsened conditions for those workers.

But over 60% of the six million workers in the public sector remain in the unions. New Labour's "reforms" are primarily aimed at the break-up of trade union organisation.

In the NHS, foundation hospitals, with separate pay rates for those staff, are an important part of this strategy. In the civil service, the break up of national pay bargaining has been going on for ten years or more, though the present PCS leadership is determined to reverse this trend.

In local government it was the introduction of the misnamed "single status agreement" that is leading to separate localised wage deals.

Unions have no place in capitalism's plans or those of the Labour government. The trade union leaders know this but have lacked any confidence to do anything about it.

The TUC in particular has promoted the idea of "partnership" with the employers. This strategy has been a complete disaster. Only militant industrial action can save the public sector.

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


In The Socialist 5 February 2005:

Iraq: No end to nightmare

Nothing resolved by Iraqi elections

Oppose Clarke's dictatorial plans

Teachers are fighting back

 Balloting against the occupation

The great pensions robbery

All out to defend pensions

All out to defend pensions!

Action now to stop the pay cuts!

Lib Dems declare war on voluntary sector

The Holocaust - who was to blame?

After the tsunami: Victims treated like beggars

Russia's 'cotton revolution' shakes Putin

World Social Forum: Lula's betrayal of poor sparks anger


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 February 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

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

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Unions:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

triangleUnions must fight workplace mental health crisis

Strike:

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

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleNewham anti-academies strikes

Labour:

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

Public sector:

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

Pension:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

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