Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pensions - A view from the foothills

As a mere member of the UNISON NEC I was not invited to Tuesday's "pensions summit" at UNISON HQ.



(And that's as it should be - the NEC doesn't have direct control over service conditions issues).



I understand that those at the summit were largely facing in the same direction, although whether from that lofty perspective they could see the class struggle I do not know.



Down here in the pensions foothills it seems obvious that we need to be gearing up for action and - if "naming a date" is a bit too Spartish for us, we should at least pencil in a week (or month?)



Not for the first time this year I find I agree completely with the Communist Party of Britain about a key question confronting our Union (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/content/view/full/107288) - it is time now to concentrate upon preparing for industrial action against the Government, and to use negotiations as a tool to assist those preparations.



This is not the approach which we can expect from the General Secretary of the TUC, who will invariably see industrial action as a tool to be used to assist negotiations.



Without effective united mass action we will not be able to shift the parameters within which negotiations are taking place in order to arrive at anything resembling a worthwhile outcome.



The Government are losing the "affordability" argument not because of the eloquence of our negotiators but because of the decisive action of hundreds of thousands of public servants on 30 June.



Although Brendan Barber's letter to the Government does appear to face in both directions (http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2375) it still panders too much to the illusion that there is - at the moment - anything approaching a deal to be had from the Coalition as things stand.

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