Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One strike settles, another one starts

It’s not every day I buy the Financial Times (not having much in the way of a share portfolio…) Then again it’s not every day you see a Trade Union General Secretary on the front page. They seem to be presenting the settlement between British Airways and the TGWU as some sort of score draw.

The TGWU describe the settlement as a significant improvement. Whilst the pay settlement only just outstrips inflation it’s a lot more than we can expect to be offered in local government. The offer in respect of sickness absence management is difficult to assess from the outside – as anyone who has ever negotiated sickness procedures, or represented union members within them, knows that it is in the detailed implementation of such procedures on the ground that the scope for bullying arises. The employers seem to have got what they wanted on pensions and the share price rise suggests that investors are happy with the deal.

I see that there are various theories swirling around the web about why the strike was settled – if someone can point me to a site where rank and file TGWU members give their views I would be interested.

In the mean time, there doesn’t seem much hope of an early settlement for our comrades in PCS who strike tomorrow. All trade unionists have to hope that our brothers and sisters in the civil service can make gains in their struggle against a New Labour Government which rarely rests from attacking their jobs – driven by a Chancellor of the Exchequer whom some union leaders seem to think would make a good Prime Minister!

I am glad to see PCS organising a series of rallies and demonstrations to maximise the public impact of their strike – I hope some others in the movement get the message that this is a good idea!

If we are going to get a good deal on the Local Government Pension Scheme we'll need energetic strike action - with the side effect that other General Secretaries will get on the front page of the FT and I'll have to buy it again...

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