Socialist Worker

Tories end pension talks-now we must resist their attacks

Issue No. 2293

Talks over plans to 'reform' public sector pensions are over, the government has declared.

The Tories will now try to impose serious attacks on the pensions. This is despite the fact that a number of union leaderships have rejected the plans and many are still consulting members.

The move shows up the government's claim to be taking talks seriously as a sick joke.

The government wants to force millions of public sector workers to work longer, pay more into their pensions each month and get less when they retire.

It plans to impose stark rises on workers' pension contributions from next month.


Several union leaderships have rejected the plans. Others have deferred making any decision on them.

The NUT, PCS, UCU and EIS are currently consulting their members on further action after the magnificent strike on 30 November last year. They could be part of a 750,000-strong strike on 28 March.

A treasury minister called talks with the unions 'constructive'. Unions disagree.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said, 'The NUT has not signed up to these proposals and neither has the majority of the other teacher unions.

'We cannot accept our members being asked to pay so much more and work so much longer for their pensions and receive so much less in retirement.'

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, 'Ministers' obstinacy means we have this ludicrous charade of what is now our fourth 'final' offer.

'We will continue to talk to other unions about planning further widespread coordinated industrial action.'

He added that PCS members should vote against the pension attacks in the union's consultation.

Unison has said it will ballot its 450,000 members in the NHS.

The GMB promises to 'consult' members in the NHS and civil service.

And Unite has denounced the government for 'having avoided any meaningful negotiations over the last year'.

It says it is 'recommending that its members in the NHS, Ministry of Defence and government departments and in teaching reject the proposals'.

Unite is consulting its members in the health service.

Workers in public sector unions overwhelmingly voted for discontinuous strikes against the pension attacks last year. This means that unions already have a mandate to call further strikes, regardless of fresh consultations.

For those that are consulting, members must go all out to get the biggest possible votes for more action. United action can stop the Tories.

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Article information

Fri 9 Mar 2012, 14:38 GMT
Issue No. 2293
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