Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lecturers fire the starting pistol in pensions fight

UCU members will be striking in opposition to attacks on pensions (http://lhu.web.ucu.org.uk/2011/03/15/uk-wide-strikes-in-colleges-and-universities-over-pensions-pay-and-jobs-on-24-march/).

They deserve an A* at least for getting things moving in relation to the dispute we can win against the Tory Government.

As an activist dealing daily with the forced diet of cuts and redundancies imposed upon us by the Coalition Government it is - at least initially - counter-intuitive that I should be thinking so much about an attack which will hit many of us hardest in decades to come.

The immediate issue in our faces is certainly the impact of the devastating cuts and job losses imposed by the Tories - and sadly implemented by Labour Councillors who wrongly believe their role as administrators of a sliver of the state is more important than their role as leaders of the local working class.

As I write this, workers up and down the country are returning home to tell families and dependents that they don't know how they'll pay their bills when the redundancy pay runs out. Branch by branch, department by department, shop by shop our best trade union activists are engaged in a fighting retreat as the Coalition's "guerilla war" against public services takes its toll.

We are losing. Jobs are going. Services are being hit and hit hard.

It is precisely because these savage cuts are quite the most important question to confront us that we must focus instead upon public service pensions as the key issue around which a national fight can take place.

There is no possibility - in local government where the cuts fall hardest - of a national dispute against cuts and job losses.

There is, however, every prospect of a series of national trade disputes over pensions leading to co-ordinated action by more workers than have ever taken action together in this country.

A defeat for the Tories on this issue would weaken them - and strengthen us - in every other battle. The defence of jobs and services depends now on the defence of pensions.

UCU have raised a torch which now illuminates the way forward for every trade union.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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