The pensions dispute is about much more than pensions. The government knows this—and millions of workers know it too.
This battle is critical for the whole working class.
If the Tories win they will use the opportunity to drive through a raft of austerity measures in every area of our lives.
People are worried about their jobs—and unemployment is the highest since comparable records began in 1992.
They see their wage packet shrinking as pay is frozen and prices rise. The stakes are high on both sides.
The huge strike on 30 November showed that working class people can take on the Tories. The government was rattled by the sheer scale of the resistance.
Now they are trying to divide our side between those nearing retirement and younger workers, and to drive through a deal sector by sector, union by union.
In a disgraceful move the coalition excluded the PCS civil service workers’ union from talks because it rejected the latest offer.
Unity is the only response to these attacks. The unions came out together—they should keep fighting together.
The anger that was expressed on 30 November has not gone away.
Union leaders should look to their members who made the day such a success and give a lead.
The task is urgent. Every activist needs to go all out to kick start the campaign for action.
The talks before Christmas may have sown some confusion about what has been agreed and what it means.
But this latest agreement is fragile. It unravelled within hours after a letter written by Tory minister Eric Pickles implied he was imposing new conditions on the unions. Immediately some union leaders withdrew from the heads of agreement—they are not confident about trying to sell a deal to their members.
The speed with which the government withdrew this letter showed it is desperate to stop the deal falling apart.
This is not a government that is confident about taking on millions of workers who are prepared to fight. The Tories fear more strikes and militancy.
Instead of backing down, this is the time to step up the action and name the day for the next united strikes.