Sunday, January 22, 2012

The dispute has not been pensioned off

Whilst union activists in local government will be focused on budget-setting for the next few weeks (at least in those authorities where the Coalition Government are enforcing their savage cuts), it’s important to reflect on the fact that the pensions dispute is not over.

Whilst negotiations are underway over health and local government pensions, trade unions representing the majority of unionised members of the civil service and teachers’ pension schemes have not accepted the Government’s pension proposals (and “rejectionist” unions are no longer excluded from talks by the Government).

The National Executive Council of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) have taken the sensible step, from the point of view of those who don’t find the Heads of Agreement a satisfactory basis upon which to negotiate a final settlement, of calling for further action, in conjunction with the other unions who are taking a similar view, notably PCS.

For those in UNISON who don’t believe that even world class negotiators can make a silk purse of a worthwhile settlement out of the sow’s ear of the Government’s preconditions, we have a pressing interest in what our fellow trade unionists do to continue to fight for fair pensions.

Activists need to continue to work for the maximum unity of our movement at every level at which that can be built.

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