Socialist Worker

Don’t lift the pensions pressure on the government

Issue No. 2030

A strike ballot over local government pensions is on hold after Labour ministers decided not to provoke the announcement of a vote among one and a half million workers this side of Christmas.

Leaders of the Unison union announced last week that, “Local government minister Phil Woolas has backed down from his attack on local government pensions. ?“After intense lobbying from Unison and other unions, Mr Woolas agreed to hold back the draft pension regulations he introduced in a parliamentary statement last Friday.”

Woolas may well have been forced to reconsider his tactics.

But there is as yet precious little evidence that he has “backed down from his attack on local government pensions”.

Woolas has conceded that talks can continue and that draft regulations will now be published in about two weeks.

It is very unlikely that there will be major changes from the “pay more for less” scheme unveiled in Woolas’s original declaration.

The union leaders are clutching at straws. The key task is to start the campaign for strikes.

The vacillation at the top underlines the need for the union to follow the clearly expressed wish of members and call a special conference over pensions early in the new year.

Activists were demanding that this week’s Unison national executive calls the conference in January.

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Sat 9 Dec 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2030
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