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Industrial Action Threatened Over Council Pensions
THE GOVERNMENT has reneged on another 'commitment' given union leaders in the 'Warwick deal', this time over pensions.
Dave Gorton, Derbyshire County UNISON coordinator, personal capacity
The original 83 concessions were already down to 56 by the time of Blair's speech to the TUC. At this rate, far from being a 'radical agenda', there won't be enough left to actually constitute an agenda!
Labour is attacking the local government pension scheme by forcing through increases in the retirement age for hundreds of thousands of council workers. Even Dave Prentis, the general secretary of UNISON, not known for his militancy, warned: "Industrial action is now a very real possibility".
UNISON's last two conferences instructed the executive to call a strike ballot should the pension scheme be attacked. Whilst Prentis' words are welcome, they will be empty rhetoric unless the union mounts an immediate campaign.
A golden opportunity was missed earlier this year when leaflets were issued to members detailing the government attacks and the temporary victory the union had then won in delaying changes but failing to mention union policy on industrial action.
The issue of pensions is a live one for workers as they see the very real threat to what is their 'deferred pay' but it would be wrong to expect them to vote for action without a campaign giving them confidence that the union's leadership is backing them.
In The Socialist 2 October 2004:
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