Friday, 16 December 2011

No sell-out on pensions - Fight until we win!

Name the day for the next coordinated strike in January

30 June pensions strike: London demo, photo Senan
30 June pensions strike: London demo, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)
On 15 December the TUC's Public Sector Liaison Group (PSLG) met for the first time since the magnificent 30 November public sector strike.
Disgracefully, Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, argued that all of the trade unions should sign up to the government's latest 'heads of agreement' on pensions, which would then allow Francis Maude to announce before Christmas that the dispute has been settled. This was met with outrage by many of the public sector trade unions present.
Not one of the central demands of public sector workers has been met. All public sector workers are still being told to work longer, pay more and get less.
The teaching unions NUT and NASUWT reported that they had been offered no serious concessions by the government, as did the civil servants' union PCS, the Fire Brigades Union and representatives of workers in the NHS.
In local government the only concession is to delay the attacks on pensions until 2014, provided that local government unions promise to accept the pain without a fight when it comes.
Yet Dave Prentis - general secretary for Unison - the biggest union in health and local government - argued for accepting this rotten deal. Hundreds of thousands of Unison members who struck on 30 November will not agree.
30 November showed the potential power of the working class in Britain. We can force this weak, divided government to retreat, but only if the action is stepped up.
The leadership of the TUC and Unison were only forced to support N30 because of the pressure of rank and file trade unionists - now we need to do the same again.
At the PSLG, PCS demanded that the meeting name the day for the next day of national coordinated strike action.
In Scotland, Unison delegates have already unanimously proposed 25 January as the day of the next strike.
National Shop Stewards Network supporters need to pile on the pressure for the date of the next strike to be set before Christmas, and to take place in January.

We immediately need to:

  • Flood the TUC and Unison leaderships with letters, resolutions and petitions of protest demanding that they do not sell out the pensions struggle and immediately set the date for a strike in January in coordination with the other public sector unions.
  • Members of all other public sector unions to send letters, resolutions and petitions to their National Executives demanding that they set the date for a strike in January in coordination with the other unions.
  • Organise a mass lobby of the next meeting of the TUC, which is taking place in early January.
We will post more information as soon as possible.

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