Socialist Party: hot air on pensions

Submitted by Matthew on 15 June, 2011 - 10:49

In his attack on the AWL (see www.workersliberty.org/ libya) Peter Taaffe says, “the successful experiences of the [civil service union] PCS in a series of industrial struggles, including in the pensions battle of 2005, which along with other ultra-lefts the AWL heavily criticised at the time.”

Before the 2005 pensions deal agreed by PCS, people joining the civil service had the right to retire at 60. People joining after it now have to work to 65 to get the same pension. How is that not a step backwards? Why is it “ultra-left” to criticise such a deal?

I assume the “successful” element of the deal Taaffe is referring to is the Socialist Party’s loudly heralded but totally false claim in 2005 that they had secured for all civil servants already in the job the right to retire at 60. That promise lasted only as long as the minister who made it. It had no legal or contractual basis and is now being ripped up by this government.

The SP cannot claim that they did not realise the implications of the 2005 pensions deal. That there was no cast iron guarantee of retirement at 60 and the foolishness of an industrial strategy that created a two-tier workforce, in which those with preserved rights could over time only become an increasingly small minority, was repeatedly pointed out to them at the time by myself and other PCS reps.

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