Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lobby Parliament to defend the LGPS!

I was pleased to be able to speak to a well attended meeting of the Hammersmith and Fulham UNISON branch and let them know the breaking news that we are organising a lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 22 November as part of the campaign to defend the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). I understand that an official circular to UNISON branches is going out now.

Although we don’t yet know what the Local Government Association, representing the employers, will be saying to the Government – as they have an extension until tomorrow to get their comments in – and we don’t know what proposals the Government will make for sure – it is nevertheless clear that we face the prospect of a worse deal than other public service pension schemes and proposals to make us pay more for that worse deal.

This isn’t acceptable and I am pleased that UNISON is now stepping up several gears. We could spend time wondering whether we should ever have been in a lower gear, but it makes more sense for UNISON branches to focus on;
Requesting a copy of your employer’s submission to the DCLG consultation on the new look scheme. Please email a copy of the response to Postal address LGPS Campaigns Unit, UNISON, 1 Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9AJ
Urging your employer to write to the LGA and the DCLG supporting the Trade Union Side objectives on protection an the new look scheme
Writing to your local MP urging them to lobby the DCLG prior to the laying on the new Regulations;
Building for a massive attendance at the lobby of Parliament on 22 November (we can practice by supporting the lobby of Parliament for the NHS on 1 November!) and;
Debating the industrial action which we will almost inevitably have to take to defend our pensions. This debate needs to take place now.

Branches should also think about organising meetings for all members for early December as an important part of rebuilding momentum for a ballot for strike action in the New Year.

A meeting of members of the UNISON NEC and of the Local Government Service Group Executive representing the Greater London Region today agreed to urge branches to support calls for a serious and sustained programme of all out strike action starting with at least a two day strike and escalating to further and longer periods of strike action.

I don’t think a single one day strike will be a serious response to this attack – and I don’t think we should be messing about any longer with deferring action. If we start this fight we should carry on to win it.

What do you think?


Adele said...

Was strike halted to save labour in local elections tho?

Jon Rogers said...

Perhaps it was Adele but it didn't work did it? We would have been better advised to have fought harder both industrially and politically.

It would have been doing a favour to the Labour Party to have pushed our case in a more forthright way, following the lead of our strongest Parliamentary supporters such as John McDonnell.

Still, we can all be wise with hindsight (and we have all made mistakes - I know I have!) The focus of local government workers now must be on organising our campaign to defend our pensions.

Adele said...

Also just a point to make. Perhaps you should have fought harder insutrially, fine. But it was really counterproductive to withdraw funding from candidates who supported the strike. Like I know someone who UNISON withdrew funding for their local election campaign who had organised loads of picket lines and supported the strike.

Anonymous said...

So you would use labour link in the way I suggested all the time??