London based college worker Siobhan Breathnach writes about the top down nature of the UK public sector pensions dispute
We got notice of the 10th of May strike on a Friday afternoon ten days before, in the middle of an emergency meeting about redundancies. The first response was “They have got to be fucking kidding.” There was a general expression of dismay and disbelief. So what is the problem? Why weren’t we pleased about being called out? Continue reading “why the phony war?”→
Barry Biddulph comments on the GMB union’s announcement on the Government’s pensions deal
The GMB’s national secretary for public services, Brian Strutton, has signed up to the TUC-approved Government pensions offer, which surrenders to the government on all the core issues of the pensions fight: working far longer, paying far more and getting far less. There has been no change in the offer in the key areas. Final-salary schemes will be replaced by a career average which will result in huge losses, particularly for women with irregular employment history. Unison leader, Dave Prentis, long seen by Cameron as someone he could do business with, recommended the deal which breaks with the momentum of strike action and solidarity against the Coalition.
Brian Strutton failed to inform GMB members that he had capitulated to the Government’s threat to impose a worse settlement than the one on offer. In an email to members he presented the deal, which undermines future action against the Government, as some kind of victory. What has been agreed is a ‘process’, he explained. What will be negotiated in this process? Well, he was unable to say. The details would be determined in the process. In other words, in return for suspending strike action, the Government has agreed to talks on their terms. Continue reading “GMB calls off Pension strike after one day.”→
Millions in France have marched and struck against a two-year increase in the retirement age. Nicolas Dessaux looks at the repression of the movement.
Since the start of the movement over pensions, the state has reacted in a highly repressive manner. From the fist demonstrations, the slightest stepping-out-of-line, a single bottle thrown, has led to offensives by CRS (riot cops), tear gas, arrests, fast-track trials and sentences.
First, on 23rd September, workers were arrested in Saint-Nazaire, since when court sentences, dismissals, penalties and threats have rained down on workers who took part in blockade actions. From the start of the movement in the lycées (of high school students), there has been a hail of arrests and punitivemeasures, and many have already been injured. Continue reading “state repression in france’s pensions struggle”→
On Wednesday 20th October UK Chancellor George Osborne launched unprecedented social cuts, as part of the new Coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Spending was slashed by an average of 19% across all government departments, and unemployment is expected to rise by around a million as a result. That the cuts had been demanded by the same financial institutions that got a trillion pound bailout from the previous government was underscored by confident predictions that UK PLC would now keep its ‘AAA’ credit rating. Meanwhile millions of working class people in Britain and Northern Ireland are today counting the cost, and worrying about their uncertain futures.