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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 March 2005

Pensions attacks: United action can win

"THIS IS the first time in my memory that so many workers in different trade unions have been involved in strike action over the same issue. Blair may think that he can 'tough it out' and gain electoral advantage. But he will learn that he is not dealing with just a pressure group, he is dealing with the organised working-class."

Roger Bannister, UNISON national executive committee

MEMBERS OF public- sector unions organising over one million workers voted in favour of strike action to defend pensions. This represents the biggest action of its kind in Britain for over 20 years.

Blair and Co imagine that the general election will be fought out with the Tories and Liberals by promising to cut back the jobs and conditions in the 'feather-bedded public sector'. They are in for a rude awakening. Their attacks have unleashed the long slumbering giant of the organised trade union movement.

The big votes in favour of striking demonstrate that, given a lead, workers will come together and fight back. It is no accident that the union with one of the highest turnouts in the ballot is the civil service union PCS. This union, under its socialist and left leadership, took strike action last year in defence of jobs.

Labour's electoral strategist, Alan Milburn, declared that the election will be mainly about "what's in it for me". In reality, it is only through collective mass action that workers can defend their own interests and therefore the interests of the working class as a whole.

This is just the beginning of a fightback. Public sector workers will be organising to escalate the action until the government backs down, drawing in private-sector workers and all those who believe that workers deserve a living pension.

The Socialist Party will also be continuing our campaign for the unions to begin the building of a new workers' party that can provide a political challenge to New Labour, the Tories and Liberals and their pro-big business, anti-working-class policies.


"MEMBERS IN PCS have shown they are determined to defend pensions, their jobs and public services. Our voice and the voice of hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers will not be ignored.

We deliver vital services across the UK and will not stand by and watch our conditions and pensions eroded.

Together we are strong."

Janice Godrich, President PCS

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 19 March 2005:

Blair's pensions climbdown

Pensions attacks: United action can win

Pensions - the socialist future

Why we voted to strike to defend pensions

Anger turns to action over pensions

Fight for a better future

What is socialism?

Iraq: troops out now

Iraq: occupation and the resistance

Bush and the 'democratic revolutions'

'Scary prospect' of US economic catastrophe

Massive strike in France

'Third World Debt' - who gains from Brown's plans?

Oppose Clarke's 'hideous experiment'

Good result for Roger Bannister

Building a new NUT leadership


 

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