Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Pensions: the fight continues

N30 - Millions strike back at Con-Dem government on 30 November 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

N30 - Millions strike back at Con-Dem government on 30 November 2011, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)

Following the strike of two million public-sector workers in November, the fight to safeguard pensions hangs in the balance.

Pitted against savage Con-Dem austerity is an angry and determined working class. Yet the leaders of some key unions and the TUC are doing all they can to sell-out the struggle.

The role of left-wing unions, and rank-and-file bodies such as the National Shop Stewards Network, could not be more important. HANNAH SELL reports on this crucial stage of the battle.

IN 2011 THE British working class joined the ranks of world revolt against austerity. The year was peppered with historic events: the largest specifically working-class demonstration in British history on 26 March, 750,000 public-sector workers striking over pensions on 30 June (J30), and the magnificent two-million-strong 30 November strike (N30).

Public backing for these events was overwhelming. On N30, a series of polls showed majority support for the strike: the BBC showed 61%, the Guardian 79%, the right-wing Daily Mail an incredible 90%.

N30 also profoundly shook the government, with prime minister, David Cameron, having to retreat within 24 hours from calling it a "damp squib" to admitting it was "a big strike".

However, if 2011 showed the strengths of the workers' movement in Britain it also graphically demonstrated its weaknesses.

Following N30, the struggle against the attacks on pensions hangs in the balance, with the leadership of Unison, the biggest public-sector union, breaking the united front and accepting the government's rotten proposals.

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