Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pensions - step up the campaign!

Now and again, blogging has to give way to doing. This is the toughest but also the very best time to have been a union activist in the twenty five years since I stood on my first picket line at the back of a windswept Catford Town Hall.

In the last couple of days there has been some excellent work at national and local level to arm our members with information (in the form of pension calculators) to persuade them to vote “YES” for strike action – and to help them persuade their colleagues to do likewise.

This is on top of a truly unprecedented mobilisation by activists and officials of our Union the length and breadth of the UK. This is, also, no time for single union chauvinism. The best activists and officials are working collectively with colleagues across all unions, with joint meetings, and helping each other out with leafleting.

Of course there are wobbles and disappointments. Dave Prentis predicted at our NEC that the FBU would not be balloting for action on 30 November for example, and he also had to intervene earlier in the dispute to give positive encouragement to some Scottish UNISON officials who were wavering.

Amongst the many positive reports which reach your blogger, there are of course a few that are less pleasing. Some branches lack confidence that they can make their members take strike action, and some officials struggle to live up to the requirements of the new circumstances in which we are organising a mass strike against the Government.

What is striking (if regular readers Sid and Doris Blogger will apologise for the worst pun on this blog in its five years life…) is that the positive reports so outnumber the bad news. The union is recruiting pension contacts and pension champions in part to circumvent any blockages to this campaign from lay or full-time officials too set in their ways to move into this new period of struggle.

UNISON members should expect every branch and Regional official to do their duty at this time of our greatest need – and they will find, in almost every case, that they are not disappointed. It’s not too late for anyone who feels that they have not yet done enough for the “YES” vote to energise themselves and mobilise our members (and for those who feel that they have done enough so far – we just have to keep at it until the very last minute!)

For now, every error or mistake can be forgiven, because there is time to make good. We have one more week to do all we can to maximise the turnout, before we turn our efforts to getting every single member out on strike.

1 comment:

John Fricker said...

The 15% cut in pensions resulting from the switch from RPI to CPI and today's High Court challenge to this is covered here:

For those who haven't retired, that 15% is on top of all the other cuts proposed.

Sorry if it's been mentioned before but note that the UNISON briefing ‘the change from RPI to CPI –the implications for members of public service pension schemes’ can be read here: