Friday, December 16, 2011

A sell out for Christmas ... but not in the high street.

I don't know if the TUC are more comfortable on their knees than up on
their hind legs but it would seem they need a bit of encouragement not
to sell us down the river. (excuse the mixed metaphor - I am an
ex-English Teacher!)

I got this from Martin Powell-Davies (NUT Executive and Classroom
Teacher) today:

Just when this Government is cracking at the seams, just when we have
had one of the largest strikes for generations, some in the TUC are
trying to recommend a shoddy deal that will allow the Government to get
away with their pensions robbery.

Urgent pressure needs to be applied in every union to make sure that
negotiators do not cave-in but show the same courage and determination
as their members showed in their millions on November 30.

Reports from today's TUC PSLG meeting suggest that some, such as Brendan
Barber and Dave Prentis, are arguing that 'we have gone as far as we
can' and that unions should all agree to sign-up and throw in the towel
on Monday. Reportedly, the PCS have even been told that if they don't
agree by then, all talks will be ceased - with the threat that any
concessions that have been offered (not that there are many!) will be

I understand that the PCS, NUT and others like the NASUWT have stood
firm - but others are clearly looking to settle. But what gains have
been made? Prentis can apparently point to the offer of a two-year delay
in increased contributions in Local Government - but that only postpones
the pain to come. I understand that he has nothing similar in the Health
negotiations. Certainly, nothing similar has been offered in education -
in fact the hope that the Government might offer retirement ages set
lower than the State Pension Age has been dashed - so it's still
retirement at 67 and 68 for many. The only minor concession might be
that if you retire at 66, you'll only lose 3% of your pension for every
year of 'early' retirement instead of 5%!!. Even that would have to be
paid for by losses elsewhere in the scheme.

Crucially, the Government has refused to lift the 'cost-ceiling' - in
other words they are insisting that we pay for the Government's debts,
even though they have refused any valuation to justify their attacks. So
that means we still pay more, to get less and retire older - yet Brendan
Barber wants us to settle on Monday!

If these union leaders have no stomach for a fight, then they have no
right to call themselves a leadership. They will be guilty of accepting
a pensions robbery which, just two weeks ago, we were all united in
saying was unjustified and unacceptable. They will demoralise and
undermine our united movement and invite the Government to go on the
attack on jobs, facility time, TUPE, pay bargaining, capability
procedures - and all the other attacks that they have lined up.

So put out an urgent call in every union - don't cave-in. Call the
Government's bluff and announce the next day of united strike action in

Martin Powell-Davies

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