Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/425/4974
Public-sector workers say...
'Back down or we strike!'
That's the warning served on the government last week by the leaders of eleven public-sector unions representing over a million workers. They announced they are to begin a strike ballot on 20 February for a series of strikes, possibly starting on 28 March.
Glenn Kelly, a member of UNISON's national executive council said:
"Those of us in the local government pension scheme are already the Cinderellas of public-sector pensions and we have no intention of being turned into mice!
"The government is in league with the Tory employers. They are proposing to push ahead and attack our pensions, despite the fact that our union has shown that legislative change has already been made that allows employers to save enough to cover any shortfall, leave our scheme as it is and pay for improvements.
"At the UNISON local government national executive (representing 900,000 members) my proposal for a programme of escalating strike action and for the TUC to name the day for a national pension demo was won. This will help to cut across any attempts to divide workers in the public sector from those in the private-sector."
UNISON's ballot is part of a joint campaign by nine unions representing workers in the local government and firefighters' pension schemes. One of the key unions involved in this is the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, told the socialist:
"Our conference policy is if there are any proposed detrimental changes to our pension scheme our conference will be recalled to discuss it. Our recall conference will meet in Southport on 16 February.
"A resolution is now being discussed by our members that would launch a ballot for strike action. It has given FBU members extra confidence that other workers in local government are also preparing to ballot for strike action."
- Vote 'yes' to defend pensions.
- For the TUC to call a national demonstration - unite the pension struggles.
In The Socialist 2 February 2006: