A strategy for the pensions battle: motion to 7 January conference

Submitted by AWL on 31 December, 2011 - 5:29

The Left Unity group which runs the PCS civil service union has called a conference for all public sector trade unionists to discuss the pensions battle on 7 January. PCS Independent Left and other activists will be proposing a motion to that conference.

There will also be a fringe meeting after the conference, sponsored by Independent Left activists and others, for those who wish to discuss this strategy. This meeting will take place immediately after the conference in Room B104 in the Brunei Gallery building at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), very near Russell Square tube (click here for a map).

If you have a union, trades council or strike committee meeting before 7 January, please propose this motion to put forward to the conference (if you don't have a meeting before then, you can use it as a basis to discuss strategy anyway).

If you pass the motion and want to let the organisers know, or for more information, email PCS Independent Left's Charlie McDonald.

For more on the conference, see here.

Motion from PCS Independent Left and other activists to 7 January conference

This conference believes

1. That defeat in the pensions dispute - that is, anything short of defence of existing pensions arrangements - will embolden the government in its other attacks on the public sector and the whole working class.

This conference further believes

1. That our response to capitulation by some union leaderships cannot simply be to lobby. We need to fight for democratic control in the dispute, including:
- Demanding emergency meetings of all union executives to discuss and vote on proposals;
- Every union to call national reps meetings to do the same;
- Ballots on any proposed agreement or ′basis for negotiations’ cited as grounds for suspending the action;
- The widest possible discussion and voting in branches, strike committees and trades councils.
2. That those unions which do not accept the government's "new" proposals should continue the campaign of action, announcing new strike dates quickly, and seek to draw others (back) in.
3. That one further day of action will not be enough to defeat the government.
4. That we need the widest possible discussion of how to win, including escalating national action, selective and targeted action, levies for strike funds, and sustained action short of a strike, as well as a political campaign focused on the need to fund decent pensions for all workers by making the rich pay.

This conference resolves

1. To launch a campaign on the lines set out above.
2. To elect an interim Steering Committee to oversee this.
3. To call a delegate conference, open to all but with voting delegates from branches, trades councils and other working-class organisations, and seek support for this from all the union broad lefts/rank-and-file organisations and national anti-cuts campaigns.


Submitted by martin on Mon, 02/01/2012 - 22:26

The motion below is being circulated among left-wing members of the Executive of the National Union of Teachers in the run-up to the NUT Exec meeting on 12 January.

The Executive recognises that the Heads of Agreement document presented by government negotiators in December reaffirms all of the threats to the pension rights of our members which led the Union to launch the campaign for Fair Pensions for All. In particular paragraph 2 (a-m) confirms that
• the teachers’ scheme will move to a career average,
• the NPA will ‘be equal to the SPA,
• pensions in payment will be indexed to CPI and
• the average pension contribution will increase from 6.4% to 9.6%.
On that basis the Executive agrees to reject the Heads of Agreement and to continue the campaign to defend the pension rights of our members.
It will take a sustained and determined campaign of action to force the government to a position where they withdraw all or significant parts of their pension proposals. This government will only concede on its fundamental objectives if and when faced with trade unions visibly prepared to remain mobilised and active longer than the Coalition can deal with.
That this is true has been confirmed not only by the Heads of Agreement but also by the decisions announced by George Osborne in his Autumn statement to freeze public sector pay for longer, increase spending cuts and speed up the raising of the state pension age (which at a stroke, given the linkage between this and the NPA in public sector schemes, makes the pension proposals worse)
The Executive therefore agrees (in addition to the actions agreed at the December 8th meeting) to intensify the pensions’ action campaign in the following ways:
• Seek to agree further days of nationally co-ordinated strike action with other public sector unions as soon as possible starting with a one day strike before the February half-term
• Co-ordinate, with those unions willing to take part, additional regional or targeted strike action (eg with PCS and UCU in towns with large colleges and govt departments)
• Develop, in consultation with divisions and associations, a plan for rolling sustained strike action at divisional/association level linked to plans for demonstrations and rallies
• In all cases invite the other school staff unions to co-ordinate action with the Union
• Convene regional meetings of divisional secretaries early in January to consult on the action strategy proposed by the National Executive which will be circulated to divisions for consultation immediately.

Submitted by martin on Tue, 03/01/2012 - 12:18

A majority of Unite EC members have supported a call for a special EC meeting on the pensions dispute, and it was sent in today. They suggest holding it before the TUC meeting on 12th January.

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