Defend Pensions: Strike on March 28th
4th March 2012
Fight for Further Action to Defend PensionsWork longer, pay more, get less; this is still the government’s plan for pensions.
The historic 2 million strong strike on 30 November, and the overwhelming public support for the campaign terrified the government. If the TUC had announced further coordinated strike action, the pensions battle could have been won.
But despite the TUC’s betrayal, further action is necessary to show the government we’re still not prepared to put up with these attacks. Opposition to the governments NHS reforms, workfare schemes and other attacks have been emboldened because of the fantastic example set by public sector workers.
The government are claiming that they do not have enough money to fund pensions as they stand. However even their own figures show that this is a lie! On top of a third year of pay freezes, in reality a pay cut, this is yet another attempt to drive down wages.
The ConDem coalition has tried to claim that public sector workers should not receive higher pensions than those in the private sector; but why should we put up with a race to the bottom? Workers in Unilever took strike action to defend their pensions after N30 and received support from the PCS union amongst others.
As bailed-out bankers top up their own pension pots by millions, why is it too much to ask for public sector workers to receive a pension they can live on?
For Fighting UnionsSince March 28 was proposed, a number of unions have joined the fight. PCS, NUT and UCU members should vote yes in the consultation to continue campaigning to save pensions and yes to further strike action, starting with 28 March. The FBU, Unite Health, NIPSA in Northern Ireland and Scottish teaching unions EIS and SSTA will also hopefully join the strike action.
Some unions have accepted the so called "heads of agreement" to the huge anger of their members. In Unison, many branches have passed resolutions demanding a recall conference and for the rights of the members to decide this vital question. This campaign is very important, and if successful could see Unison join in coordinated strike action.
The pensions struggle so far shows the huge strength that exists in the union movement, and the potential to inspire millions more when a fighting lead is given. But the disgraceful role of some union leaders, and the TUC, in the aftermath of N30 shows the need for activists to organise inside and across unions.
The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) brings together workers from across public and private sector unions and has played an important role in N30, in the victorious struggle of the sparks and other battles. As the government and bosses step up their desperate attacks, coordination between fighters in the trade unions is even more important.
The NSSN conference is taking place on 9 June. Book your place today at shopstewards.net
A Party for the 99%
After heaping misery upon misery on the heads of public sector workers, the Tories and Lib Dems now have the cheek to ask for our votes to continue these attacks! Labour in local government have been little better, locally and nationally signing up to Tory cuts with barely a whimper. There is no party on a national level that represents the huge opposition to this governments pro-big business policies.
We need fighters that represent the 99%. In the Greater London Authority elections, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing a list headed by Alex Gordon, RMT president, Jenny Sutton, UCU, Martin Powell-Davies, NUT, Joe Simpson POA assistant secretary and representatives from the FBU, CWU, PCS and Unison activists (in a personal capacity).
TUSC candidates around the country are standing to represent workers, saying no to all cuts. Strike on 28 March and get involved in TUSC for 3 May!
The Socialist Alternative
The attack on pensions is one of a range of ways the government and big business are attempting to make us pay for their crisis. Capitalism is in a drawn-out crisis, and its only way out is through driving down our living standards. We’re confronted with a stark choice; either society is run in the interests of the rich or the interests of the majority. We say take the wealth and the power off these parasites and build a society that guarantees a decent standard of living, through democratic control. If you agree, join the socialist party!