Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The pensions' battle continues

Socialism Today May 2012, photo by Paul Mattsson

Socialism Today May 2012, photo by Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)

The need for concerted strike action against Con-Dem cuts in the public sector is more urgent than ever. Central to that struggle is the ongoing battle to stop the government forcing workers to work longer, pay more and get less. PETER TAAFFE reports.

THE PENSIONS' BATTLE has been the centrepiece of the generalised struggle against government-imposed cuts over the last year.

This issue has generated the biggest phase of action so far, including strikes in 2011 in June and November.

The cuts also resulted in the biggest specifically working-class demonstration for generations on 26 March last year.

If, after these Herculean efforts of working people, the trade union movement was now to evacuate the scene of battle without deploying its full strength, it would be an enormous setback.

That could, in turn, bolster the government at a time when it is on the back foot. This would have serious consequences for the struggle against the panoply of cuts, more than 90% of which have yet to be introduced.

And yet this is precisely the danger which is posed by the defeatist approach of the right wing of the TUC, led by general secretary Brendan Barber, together with unions like Unison.

Their acceptance of the 'heads of agreement' on pensions, despite promises of future action, broke the common front on this issue.

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