This week’s ballot results from local government workers in the Unite and Unison unions are a blow to the fight to stop Tory attacks on public sector pensions. Both groups accepted deals that will see them work longer for less.
The strength of the opposition to the Tories’ pension attacks was the unity of workers across different unions and workplaces. The magnificent 30 November mass strike saw 2.6 million strike over pensions. So why have some workers now accepted these deals?
The damage was done when some union leaders backed away from a fight within days of the strike. They dragged out talks for months.
Many workers clearly thought they had no option but to accept the deals. They were not offered the alternative of a real fight.
But this isn’t the end of the battle. The scale of transport already booked for the TUC march on 20 October shows that people want to say no to the Tories’ austerity.
This could be bigger than the half a million strong demo last year and boost workers’ confidence to resist and strike. It will be closely followed by a student protest.
The NUT union is balloting for more action including over pensions. The PCS union and others, including sections of the biggest unions, are still in the pensions fight. We need to go all out for the hot autumn the Tories fear.