At a meeting on 21/10/05 of the Executive of the civil service union PCS, the TUC-Government deal on public sector pensions - which creates a two-tier pension system in health, civil service, and teaching, and leaves local government and the fire service in the lurch - was endorsed with only one vote against, from AWL member John Moloney.
PCS is the one union in Britain where avowed Marxists hold the majority on the Executive (as well as among the full-time officials). But the Socialist Party and SWP members on the Executive voted for the deal.
The SWP's position is especially strange. An article in this week's Socialist Worker, personally signed by SW editor Chris Bambery, and featured as the lead item on the SWP website, denounces the deal as an "abject capitulation" and urges trade unionists to "meet immediately to organise resistance to this deal".
Yet in the one place where trade unionists did meet to decide on the deal, and the SWP had votes which could have made a difference, SWP members Sue Bond and Martin John voted for the deal.
In the National Union of Teachers, the SWP has been very strident against the deal, and has launched a petition against it. In Unison, leading SWPer John McLoughlin has issued a statement declaring himself "shocked" by the deal, which "appears to sell the rights of future generations on pensions... and to break the unity of public sector workers by leaving local government workers and firefighters on our own".
But on the PCS Executive the SWP followed its rule of the last few years - never to say or do anything, within their earshot, which might offend trade union leaders who support or might support their rotten "Respect" coalition. On the same basis the SWP member on the CWU Postal Executive voted for the job-cutting Major Change deal there. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka is the only trade-union leader who actually supports Respect.
The SP's line is more consistent, with their paper as well as their PCS Exec members hailing the deal as a victory.
It seems very unlikely that the NUT Executive will reject the deal. In Unison, the Health Service Group Executive meets on 2 November to consider the deal. Left-wingers on the Service Group Executive are arguing that, whatever the merits of the deal, it should at least not be ratified until local government workers are offered something comparable. (At present local government workers face different, and worse, proposals). There is a negotiating meeting on local government pensions the same day, 2 November.