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12 January 2012
Union members lobby the TUC Public Services Liaison Group
Over 100 union members lobbied the TUC Public Services Liaison Group (PSLG) today, Thursday 12 January, to call on the union leaders to reject the government's new offer on public sector pensions and to set a new strike date.
It appears that a number of unions, led by Unison and the GMB, reiterated their position to 'continue negotiations'.
This is a betrayal of the magnificent strike action taken on 30 November (N30) by over two million workers, a massive show of determination against a vicious government.
By signing the Con-Dems' 'heads of agreement' they have accepted the financial limits or 'cost ceilings' set by the government.
Therefore, any improvements negotiated by the unions will have to be balanced by concessions elsewhere.
It will still be the case that most Unison and GMB members will pay in more to get out less and work longer to get it.
They will be asking the question, how much more is on the table now than was available on N30. Many will be furious that the momentum created by that incredible N30 strike is now in danger of being lost.
In the PSLG meeting Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil service union, called on all those 'rejectionist' unions who have refused to sign this rotten deal to meet at the earliest possible time to look at planning further united strike action.
Unison's health executive will be meeting in two weeks to discuss the deal again and a full membership ballot.
Therefore, members of those unions still in the fight should use every opportunity to show support and solidarity with Unison members, leafleting, joint meetings and debates around the issue to help them put pressure on their leadership.
Hopefully, the fact that those unions who have rejected the deal are looking to meet together outside of the PSLG to consider further coordinated action, possibly of a million workers, can put more pressure on Unison and the GMB to again be part of the united front of strike action.
PCS Left Unity hosted a very successful open organising conference on Saturday 7 January which agreed a committee of the lefts in the unions there to help push the campaign forward.
The steering committee of the National Shop Stewards Network is meeting on Saturday 14 January and will be discussing calling public debates between those unions who oppose the deal and those who think its acceptable.
The battle goes on to defend public sector pensions. Unfortunately, today's meeting now means that at least in the short term, that campaign of action will be initiated outside the PSLG by those unions led by leaders prepared to fight.
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