Socialist Worker

Unions gear up to strike in defence of pensions

by Lynne Chamberlain, Natfhe national executive
Issue No. 1936

NATFHE members active against the war

NATFHE members active against the war

SOME 67,000 lecturers in further and higher education in the Natfhe union are set to ballot for a one-day strike against New Labour’s plans to make us work five extra years. The Natfhe further and higher education sectors’ executives both voted unanimously on Friday of last week for action this term.

The mood of the union is for united action across the public sector, as this attack affects every public sector worker. We had wanted to ballot in line with the Unison and PCS unions for a strike on 23 March, but many teachers are likely to be on their Easter holidays then.

The meeting also decided to fully support the TUC day of action on Friday 18 February and to urge as many members as possible to build and take part in all local action planned for that day.

The union is also contacting the other teaching unions to ask them to join our action—the attack is across the board and we should fight it across the board.

Natfhe has also agreed to step up the fight by producing publicity materials to get our members in the colleges involved—stickers, poster, handbills and petitions will be made for use on the TUC day of action.

In my workplace people are fuming at the lie that Britain can’t afford decent pensions for its hard-working employees.

As I argued at the executive meeting, if they can find £5 billion pounds for an unjust and illegal war they can pay us a decent wage and provide us with our hard-earned pension. In the next couple of weeks, every college — whether big or small — should hold meetings explaining that the government wants to work us to death and arguing for a yes vote in the forthcoming ballot.

News of this decision should get out to as many public sector activists as possible. If your union isn’t planning strikes yet, use the news of ballots elsewhere to push your union leaders into action. Council workers, civil service workers, teachers, firefighters, health workers, postal workers fighting together can stop New Labour’s plans to rob us all.

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