Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13371

Posted on 20 December 2011 at 15:44 GMT

TUC lobby demands no retreat on pensions

Name the date for the next strike!

Hundreds of rank and file union members protested outside the TUC last night on the lobby of the TUC's Public Services Liaison Group called by the National Shop Stewards Network.

Rob Williams, Chair, National Shop Stewards Network

The lobby articulated the feelings of anger of hundreds of thousands of public sector trade unionists faced with the prospect of their leadership agreeing to a rotten deal.

The lobby, and the campaign around it, had an important effect in forcing TUC leader Brendan Barber and UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis to partially step back from complete and immediate capitulation.

The London demonstration on the 30 November public sector general strike, photo Socialist Party

The London demonstration on the 30 November public sector general strike, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

This now allows a window of opportunity for trade unionists to step up the pressure for a continuation of the pensions struggle.

As union leaders went into Congress House, protestors chanted "The Tories win when you sell out!", "N30 showed the way, TUC name the day [for the next strike]" and "Let the members decide!" The TUC's Public Services Liaison Group meeting took place after Brendan Barber and Dave Prentis spent the weekend trying to convince public sector unions to sign up to a 'Heads of Agreement' on the pensions dispute.

This 'agreement' would in effect suspend any further action and agree that the minor concessions of the government are sufficient to settle the dispute.

From reports it seems that in local government UNISON, GMB and UNITE have indicated that they want to sign Maude's 'heads of agreement' and that UNISON has done the same in health.

Pressure

PCS Left Unity organising conference

PCS Left Unity organising conference   (Click to enlarge)

It's clear however that the pressure from union activists, up to and including last night's lobby has prevented a far more open capitulation.

Barber had to issue a statement saying, "It's important to stress that no agreements have been reached, but unions now have proposals to put to their executives and members."

Prentis also had to emphasise that the 'agreement' would be put to the UNISON Service Group Executives (SGEs) on 10 January.

UNISON members now need to make sure that members of the SGEs are flooded with letters, emails and phone calls making clear members' opposition to this rotten deal.

Decisions should be made by NECs

Decisions on whether there is anything acceptable shouldn't be in the hands of a handful of union leaders but should be made by the unions' national executive committees, which consist of elected lay members, and then by full votes of the union members who were balloted for the 30 November 2011 public sector strike (N30).

The NSSN supports the actions of unions like PCS, NUT and POA who have refused to sign up to a process that can only give confidence to the government while lowering the confidence of workers that their unions are serious about fighting back.

The massive two million strong strike on N30 frightened the government. However, as yet the government have moved only by inches.

The government is relying on the right-wing trade union leaders to throw away their advantage. As The Mirror acknowledges today, the concessions are very slight and still mean that public sector workers will pay more in pension contributions in the middle of what is now a four year pay freeze, and work longer to get less.

In local government, the government might concede a two year delay in the increased pension contributions in return for what is effectively a no-strike agreement.

Far bigger pensions contributions

But if a worker has another twenty years' work in front of them, the majority of those years will be on far bigger pensions contributions.

In addition, the government is planning to change the pensions from a 'final salary' to the lesser 'career average' as well as increasing the retirement age.

Any movement from the ConDems after just one day of co-ordinated strike action should be taken as a source of confidence that the government can be forced into a total climb-down.

Rather than trying to cajole unions into signing up to a disorderly retreat, yesterday's meeting should have set the date for the next strike as early as possible next year, preferably by the end of January.

"Damage limitation"?

Unison's head of health, Christina McAnea, told the press that "we always knew this would be a damage limitation exercise." Union national officials might think this, but millions of union members who were on strike on 30 November will be determined that this battle doesn't end here.

The day before N30, Osborne sketched out the next five years or more of unremitting misery for working people.

Another 30 billion of cuts on top of the 81 billion he announced a year ago. 360,000 public sector workers have been sacked, while those remaining facing pay freezes and pay cuts because of job evaluation.

The most vulnerable in society have been hit hard by these ruthless cuts, made in order to pay for the bankers' greed - for which Cameron was prepared to go to the wall in Brussels.

Yet even more cuts are now demanded, which could see a further 400,000 sacked! No wonder N30 was so successful, with towns and cities all over the country seeing their biggest ever demonstrations.

Keep up the pressure

We've got to keep up the pressure on the union leaders. The government's so-called offer will be discussed and debated at union national executive committees early in the New Year.

Unison's local government and NHS group executive committees meet on January 10th. The National Shop Stewards Network calls on all public sector workers to send in motions and resolutions to their union branches, shop stewards committees and trades councils calling for rejection of this deal and the naming of the next strike date.

Sign our online petition and tell your friends, family and workmates about it. But most of all, come to the conference called by PCS Left Unity on Saturday January 7th at the Friends Meeting House in Euston Road, London.

It's open to union members, activists and reps in all unions to debate the way forward after N30 and yesterday's TUC Public Services Liaison Group meeting.

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






Related links:

TUC:

triangleNHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

trianglePCS executive agrees next steps in pay campaign

triangleLondon: National TUC march and rally

triangleNSSN pre-TUC rally

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

Pensions:

triangleUni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

triangleLecturers vote for strikes against pension cuts

Union:

triangleUnison national women's conference

triangleSupermarket's slash jobs - union fightback needed

triangleFor workplace trade union organisation against sexual harassment

Government:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: How long can May cling on for?

triangleMay's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

Strike:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: Save our NHS - the lessons of the Barts strike

Unison:

triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

Unions:

triangleNHS - build the fightback

Public sector:

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

Local government:

triangleBristol anti-cuts campaigners debate alternatives to the cuts

Public services:

triangleBallots against Bromley privatisers

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleNSSN conference

PCS:

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

Brendan Barber:

triangleStand with the RMT: unite against Southern Rail and the Tories

Dave Prentis:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

Rob Williams:

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

NSSN:

triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

14/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice

14/2/18

Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

14/2/18

TUSC

Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

14/2/18

EU

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in

14/2/18

Rents

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

14/2/18

Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

14/2/18

NHS

We can win the fight for the NHS

7/2/18

Labour

NHS - build the fightback

7/2/18

Labour

Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

7/2/18

Haringey

Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council

7/2/18

Refugees

90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes

7/2/18

Outsourcing

Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house

7/2/18

Trump

Trump v NHS

31/1/18

NHS

NHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

31/1/18

Davos

Capitalists fear for their system at Davos

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999