19th December 2011
LRC Executive Statement on public sector pensions:
Leaders of the TUC and some trade unions have split the trade union movement today by capitulating to the Government, betraying not only their own members but also undermining the teachers’, civil servants’ and health service workers’ unions.
No matter how some try to dress it up, the Government has made no concessions on any of the key issues that brought 2 million workers out on strike on 30th November.
Public sector workers will still have to pay more and work longer for their pensions and yet some union leaders, led by Unison, have agreed to suspend action, and recommend acceptance to their members.
Even worse, by accepting the Government’s ultimatum, these unions have agreed to the exclusion of fellow unions from future negotiations.
Caving in reflects a disastrous misjudgement, which not only divides the trade union movement, but strengthens the government at a time when it has been looking increasingly divided and weak.
Yet all is not lost. The outline deals agreed to by some union general secretaries are not final deals. They must be approved by union executives and by union members.
Today reinforces the need for united grassroots organisation in our trade unions. The LRC will back any unions seeking to fight on for fair pensions for all, and will work in a non-sectarian way to build alliances to organise against those union leaders who are asking their members to make unjustifiable sacrifices to their pensions.
In the coming months and years, our movement is facing a massive attack on living standards, public services and welfare. This is a brutal class war – forcing the costs of the economic crisis onto its victims. We need to resist and fight against these attacks.
We must build and reinforce the confidence of trade union members to stand up and fight, and to reject these shoddy deals. Just as John Prescott labelled John Hutton ‘a collaborator’ for his role in the producing a report recommending public sector pensions attacks, we have no reservation in labelling those union leaders who signed up to deals today as collaborators too.
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