Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/426/4992

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 February 2006

Strike for pension rights

UNISON's ballot of its one million members is due to start on 20 February. UNISON will be joined by 11 other unions in defence of the local government pension scheme. The ballot will finish on 10 March, with the first strike in the last week of March.

Glenn Kelly, UNISON national executive council, personal capacity

At the last meeting of UNISON's special local government executive (SGE), it was reported that the Tory employers were taking a hard line and daring the union to strike. The government is still harping on about affordability and the legality of the 85-year rule, where workers can retire on a full pension when they have served enough years.

But the European Commissioner responsible for pensions has disagreed with the government and said it would not be unlawful to keep the 85-year rule under the new EU legalisation. As for affordability, the union has also demonstrated that the introduction of the new Finance Act in April, where workers can commute up to 25% of their pension in a lump sum, will save the government and employers £3.7 billion and an ongoing saving of 1% on the pension bill. This measure alone is enough to cover any shortfall, leave our pension alone and pay for improvements to the scheme.

UNISON's national officers initially proposed a one-day strike of all members and then strikes of 'key groups' such as meat hygiene. Action would be at the end of March but not in April because of the school and college holidays. In reality this is an excuse to avoid action in the run-up to the local elections.

They think the best chance of winning is for political pressure to be put on until the formal consultation period ends on 28 February.

I opposed the key group strategy at the SGE, as it has not been successful anywhere since 1989. Instead of it being an auxiliary tactic to action by all members it soon becomes the only tactic, leaving the mass of the members passive in the dispute, relying on small groups on full take-home pay. The size of the strike fund can then dictate the dispute.

But this strategy can appear attractive and it was agreed by the majority of the SGE, including the United Left member. I then argued that we should not support just a one-day strike but should lay down to the members a programme of action that showed we were serious about trying to win - a programme that would send a message to the employer that they weren't just facing a token gesture. This was won with almost unanimous support.

I also proposed that we should again call on the TUC to name the day for the national demo and that it should be during the strike period. If the TUC refuses, the 11 unions balloting should call it. This was referred to UNISON's NEC.

The Socialist Party is concerned that decisions about the strategy of the strike appear to be taken behind closed doors and not by the elected leaderships of the members involved. In particular by the service group liaison committee (SGLC - which is a sub committee of the NEC, made up of all the service group chairs and vice chairs and the general secretary and national unelected officers).

The Socialist Party proposed we set up a strike committee that was made up of the five different service groups involved, proportional to the number of members in each service group.

This was not supported but instead a strike committee of the SGLC plus sector group chairs was agreed. It still means that the decisions of the SGE are in effect only recommendations to the SGLC and they can ignore them or not, despite how many or how few members they represent. It also means, for instance, that the chair of the health group is getting a say in our strike even though they have settled their dispute!

The Socialist Party believes that this risks putting the real control of the strike in the hands of a few unelected full-time officials.

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


In The Socialist 9 February 2006:

End the occupation

Socialists must build a united workers' movement to fight divisions

Bush not going Green

Strike for pension rights

Victory for trade union militancy

NHS - hands off our GP services!

Fighting the far-right BNP

Get organised, get active!

Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Venezuela: Women occupy Caracas factory

Venezuela: We are a mighty river

Sri Lanka: Back from the brink of war?

Are Trotsky’s ideas of socialist revolution still relevant today?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 February 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Pension:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Unite:

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

triangleGig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

Pensions:

triangleCWU members prepare for industrial action at Royal Mail

triangleBosses' pensions robbery

Unison:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

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