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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 January 2012

What we think:

Reject pensions 'deal' - fight until we win

The strike on 30 November - involving 24 trade unions and up to two million workers - was the biggest single day of strike action in many decades.

It terrified the government, with Cameron having to quickly retreat from his claim it was a "damp squib" and admit that it had been a "big strike".

It showed the power of public sector trade unions - united together - to bring the country to a halt.

Yet now Brendan Barber and the leadership of the TUC are proposing that we throw away our advantage and accept a rotten deal on pensions.

This would be a huge mistake. It would mean all public sector workers having to work longer, pay more and get less pension.

For the vast majority it would mean accepting a deal that is little or no better than what was on the table before 30 November.

Only workers aged over 50 have been excluded from the brunt of the cuts in pensions, although some aspects, such as the switch from RPI to CPI, also affect the over 50s.

In any case, this is not a new proposal and was rightly rejected by trade union leaders before, including Dave Prentis of Unison.

Accepting a rotten deal on pensions will also give the government more confidence to accelerate its massive cuts programme.

If they can get away with it the government intends to inflict a 'decade of austerity' on Britain. The cuts proposed are so brutal that even far-right Tory Norman Tebbit has said that he can't stomach them all!

It is essential that the trade union movement maintains a united front and steps up the struggle in defence of our pensions and against the cuts as a whole.

If we do not, then the Con-Dems will continue to drive down the living standards of the majority while bending over backwards for the richest 1%.

Just look at how Goldman Sachs and other major corporations have been let off over 25 billion in tax over cosy dinners with the taxman, while working class, and many middle class people, are facing breathtaking cuts in living standards.

Britain's richest 10% are now an average of 100,000 a year better off than they were in 2005, while the majority have suffered an absolute fall in income.

This is set to get worse as rail fares rise by 9%, fuel prices continue to increase and wages fall.

On 12 January the executives of all the unions involved in the pensions struggle will meet to discuss whether to accept a deal. Trade unionists must inundate their leaders with emails, phone calls, petitions and lobbies demanding that they:

Why you should reject the pensions deal - the facts for workers across the public sector

The battle isn't over - keep the united front!

The Con-Dem government is trying to con public sector workers that the pensions struggle is over. This is a lie.

The leadership of the civil servants union, the PCS, has clearly rejected the deal. The leaders of the education unions NUT, NASUWT and UCU have not accepted it, along with the prison officers union, the POA, the civil servants unions FDA and Prospect, and NIPSA, the Northern Irish Public Sector Alliance union.

In health, Unite has not accepted the deal. In local government, Unite, Unison and GMB withdrew, following a letter by local government minister Eric Pickles which undermined the 'deal'.

It is clear that the leadership of Unison is determined to end the pensions struggle and accept a rotten deal.

However, under pressure, the general secretary Dave Prentis has had to delay a decision until it has been discussed at the Service Group Executives that are meeting on 10 January. Unison members will be lobbying the meeting.

Trade unionists across the public sector need to make sure that all the union leaders hear a deafening roar from their members - keep up the pensions fight! Set the date for the next coordinated strike!

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In The Socialist 4 January 2012:

Anti-cuts campaign

Defend public sector pensions - "action must be escalated"

PCS Left Unity open organising conference in defence of pensions

Reject pensions 'deal' - fight until we win

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Hands off the NHS!

Socialist Party feature

A world in turmoil

Socialist Party news and analysis

2012: Millions face poverty and homelessness

Liverpool's managed decline: Tarzan to the rescue?

"Seismic collapse" of private pensions

Them & Us

Socialist Party events

National meeting for women in the Socialist Party

Socialist Party workplace news

Unity against wage cuts in construction

Cuts used to attack trade unionists

Fight job-cutting academies

International socialist news and analysis

Nigeria: Boko Haram's Christmas Day bombings

USA: Occupy movement links with working class

Socialist Party reviews and comments

Review: Days of Hope

We're not scroungers!


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