The battle to defend local government pensions featured strongly in a 150?strong demonstration to defend jobs and services held in Sheffield on Saturday of last week.
Speakers outlined the threat faced by local government workers and urged a yes vote in the strike ballots currently under way.
The protest was called by the PCS civil service workers’ union, which is currently fighting against a massive cuts programme being implemented by chancellor Gordon Brown.
Sheffield Trades Council supported the protest. Unions represented included the FBU, NUJ, Amicus and Unison. Activists from the recently formed Keep Our NHS Public campaign also took part in the demo.
Rank and file firefighters are organising against aspects of their recent pensions deal in the run up to a special conference of the Fire Brigades Union later this month which is set to decide the issue.
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Dundee DLO workers meet
We had an excellent gate meeting at the council’s direct labour organisation (DLO) in Dundee on Friday of last week.
There are about 450 people employed here and 400 of them came to discuss pay and pensions. Joiners, plasterers, roofers, plumbers and admin staff were virtually unanimous in their support for industrial action to defend our pensions.
People are very angry at the threats from the government and the destruction of people’s plans for retirement.
The meeting gave a real boost to the start of the ballot and I’m sure it will help to build the yes vote for action.
Liz Cushnie, Dundee DLO worker and Unison member
Aberdeen angry and determined
Around 30 trade unionists came together in Aberdeen last week for a “Pensions not War” meeting. They heard Alan Paterson from the FBU union, George Thomson from Grampian Senior Citizens Forum and Charlie Kimber, author of Pensions, Profits and Resistance.
In the discussion members of Unison, T&G and pensioners’ organisations were united in their determination to win the strike ballot. They demanded resources should be shifted from bombing innocent people in Iraq and used for a better life for present and future pensioners.