Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pensions dispute - time to get serious

UNISON has lost our application for judicial review of the Government’s attack upon the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). So what do we do now?

Well, we could spend time remembering that many of us opposed the unfortunate decision to suspend industrial action after the very effective strike in March. More constructively we need to ensure that as many branches as possible respond to consultation on the future of the scheme before the deadline of tomorrow (29 September).

UNISON activists also need to give serious consideration to calling for a special Local Government Conference to debate the dispute about our pensions. Although if the Service Group Executive (SGE) can be persuaded to recommend rejection of any “final offer” and we move straight to a ballot for industrial action then we would not necessarily need a special conference – I can’t help but feel that demanding a special conference can do no harm, particularly if we link it to an instruction to the SGE not to support any unacceptable deal.

A special conference is not an end in itself – it is a means to the end of defending our pensions.

We need to reflect upon the mistakes made thus far in this dispute.

I know that everyone can be wise with the benefit of hindsight, but some of us also had foresight when the deal on public service pensions was done and local government was excluded.

Whilst the Joint Union Strike Team (JUST) was a positive development, bringing together 11 unions to defend the LGPS, it has also enabled the union officials to argue that their chosen tactics – having been endorsed by JUST – must be supported.

We need to face up to the fact that these tactics have failed to deliver and are failing to deliver. If we go back into dispute on this (and I think we must) then single days of strike action are not going to be what it takes to win.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's the point of a special conference? If the outcome of the 'negotiations' is unacceptable, why not reject the package and move to a ballot for action?