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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2011

Hands off our pensions!

For a one-day public sector strike

John McInally, national vice-president PCS, personal capacity
National Shop Stewards Network demonstration to lobby the TUC 11 September 201, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network demonstration to lobby the TUC 11 September 201, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Enough is enough; the government's cuts programme is an unfolding disaster for working people and the middle classes. We must all now work to build for maximum unity to deliver the type of mass, coordinated industrial action that will stop this coalition government in its tracks.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has argued for maximum unity among public sector unions to defend pensions. The coalition's plans to make us pay more, work longer and receive less must be collectively opposed - we either fight together or go down separately. That's why the PCS supported and took part in the National Shop Stewards Network march and lobby to the TUC for a one-day public sector strike.

The national executive of the PCS has voted for a second national day of action following on from the tremendous strike on 30 June. That strike brought together civil service and education workers in defiance of the Con-Dem government's attempt to steal our pensions in order to pay for the deficit left by the failure of the banks and the unregulated market system.

Strike action, scheduled for November, will be bigger and more widely supported than in June. The full scale of the robbery that Cameron's gang wants to carry out is hitting home - and workers throughout the public sector are growing angrier by the day.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC 11 September 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC 11 September 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

PCS and the NUT school teachers' union have opposed going into 'scheme talks' while the core issues were unresolved. Some TUC and union leaders believed that being 'reasonable' and accepting the inevitability of cuts in public sector pensions would lead to concessions. They have now been left high and dry by the multi-millionaire, multiple home-owning, expenses fiddling pensions minister Francis Maude and his lot.

Other unions including the firefighters, other education unions, including the EIS in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Public Services Association are set to ballot. It now looks as if the GMB will ballot too and the pressure is growing on the Unison leadership to join the ranks of those determined to stand up to the coalition spivs.

PCS is geared towards producing the biggest turnout of members in the next strike. The TUC must now coordinate the growing number of unions prepared to fight. That means, as well as building support for action in the workplaces, we also need to do so in our communities, utilising the network of anti-cuts alliances.

30 June showed the overwhelming majority of working people identified with and supported the striking teachers and civil servants. They recognise that if we are defeated on pensions then the Con-Dems will came back to steal even more from us. Millions of private sector workers have had their pensions stolen too - by profiteering shareholders and employers.

The attack on pensions, along with measures like the appalling Welfare Reform Bill, demonstrates the savagery of this government and highlights the simple fact that if we are to stop them we must oppose all cuts.

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In The Socialist 14 September 2011:

Socialist Party features

We need a programme of action to fight back!

Austerity policies strangle growth

Socialist Party youth and students

Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!

Low pay and the housing crisis

Youth must join pensions struggle

EMA cuts: doors close on our future

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings

Stop attacks on pensions

Hands off our pensions!

NHS pensions - Pay more, work longer and get less!

Socialist Party workplace news


Support Wyndeham workers

No to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

How can the national rights of Palestinians be achieved?

Socialist Party news and analysis

NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

Nationalise the banking system!

Childcare costs push parents into hardship

Save our NHS

Fast news

Socialist Party review

Power and terror

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Surrey libraries!

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Hundreds march against Dale Farm evictions

May Day protest case goes to Strasbourg


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