Socialist Worker

A crucial discussion about the future of local government pensions

Issue No. 2041

The future pensions for millions of local government workers are hanging in the balance.

As Socialist Worker went to press hundreds of delegates from Unison union branches were meeting at a special conference to debate the latest offer from the government.

Ministers have offered a deal which means a worse pension, increased contributions for the vast majority of workers and lower contributions for employers.

Yet instead of fighting the deal, Unison leaders were recommending that there should be a members’ ballot with no indication of whether to accept or reject. Such a failure of leadership is tantamount to surrender.

It is the latest sign of the unwillingness of Unison’s leaders to confront the government.

Yet local government workers have already showed they regard pensions as a crucial issue.

Over a million of them struck on 28 March last year and were prepared to strike again – until their leaders called off the strikes and told workers to put their faith in talks and legal moves.

And it was pressure from below, initiated by the Kirklees branch, which forced the holding of the conference by collecting the support of branches representing well over a quarter of the membership.

Many of these branches were pressing for a strike ballot and a clear call for rejection of this deal.

Whatever the decision of the conference, activists must push for continued resistance.

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Article information

Sat 10 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2041
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