Socialist Worker

Anger and determination as hundreds pack Unite the Resistance meeting

by Patrick Ward
Issue No. 2285

An emergency national meeting of Unite the Resistance brought together over 400 trade union activists in London today to discuss the future of the pensions fight.

The meeting called on unions to reject the “deal” being pushed by the government, which would mean workers paying more, working longer and getting less back.

Sue Bond, the vice president of the PCS union, said it was “essential we increase the pressure and plan more action”.

The conference was united in calling for further action to beat the Tories and criticising union leaders who want to abandon the fight.

But there was a serious discussion on whether a further strike date should be called now by the unions that have rejected the deal, or whether further time was needed to pull more unions into the action.

Sean Vernell from the UCU union said further strikes should happen “even if it’s just the PCS, NUT and UCU unions”.

“We need to start to plan for escalation,” he said.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, said. “The deals on offer are as miserable and pathetic as anything you have seen.”


The government had previously barred the PCS from attending talks after it refused to agree to the “heads of agreement” like some of the other unions, such as Unison. But the government today conceded that the PCS would now be able to return to talks. This decision was hailed as a victory by many at today’s meeting.

“Now is not the time for diplomatic niceties, now is the time to be honest to our members and honest to our activists,” said Serwotka.

“I would rather be in a minority in a room with the NUT, the POA and others who were prepared to stand up last week arguing for our members’ interests, than going along with the club of union leaders who in my view are carrying out one of the biggest betrayals that we have seen.”

A full report on the Unite the Resistance conference will be in next week’s Socialist Worker.

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Sat 14 Jan 2012, 19:35 GMT
Issue No. 2285
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