Friday, January 28, 2011

If we face an attack on our pensions we will ballot for industrial action

The choreography or trade union resistance to the Coalition government took a tentative step forward today with the announcement that we are “not ruling out” industrial action in defence of our pensions.

Whilst a cynic might rank this statement alongside affirmations of Papal Catholicism and the arboreal toilet habits of ursine mammals, it is in fact meant to be a warning shot to the ConDems.

The point isn’t that we haven’t invoked some non existent “procedure for ruling out national industrial action”, but that the unions, together, have been prepared to drop a moderately heavy hint that we might see coordinated strike action over attacks on our pensions.

It is to the credit of the left-led unions, working through the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group that the TUC today convened the joint union meeting which saw Brendan Barber emerge blinking into the daylight alongside our own Dave Prentis on the steps of Congress House to announce just what it was that we weren’t ruling out.

With even the ATL prepared to join the NUT in balloting for national action over pensions it is clear that the assessment that pensions are the issue on which we can draw, and hold, a line against the Government is held far beyond the ranks of the usual suspects of the left.

All we need now is to take that small step from “not ruling out” to “ruling in and campaigning for energetically” which is just what was called for last summer…

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