Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 August 2012

Local government pension scheme

How did we end up worse off?

A Coventry council worker
Unison placard - we won't pay for the financial crisis on 30 November 2011 strike, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison placard - we won't pay for the financial crisis on 30 November 2011 strike, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

All three local authority trade unions have now accepted the new-look pension scheme - LGPS 2014, with ballots in GMB, Unite and Unison all returning large majorities in favour of accepting. Council workers will have a worse pension - paying more, working longer and getting less.

Many members and activists will ask how we went from a huge day of industrial action on 30 November 2011 (N30) to where we have now accepted a deal that will see members worse off.

The union leaderships signed up to a 'Heads of Agreement' after N30 which accepted many of the very issues that we had fought against. Months and months then dragged by with little or nothing coming out about what was being negotiated.

Little wonder that members started to question whether the union leaderships were up for the fight. In Unison, branches and activists who wanted to campaign for a no vote were effectively stopped from putting their case to the members.

It was not just Unison who recommended acceptance. GMB campaigned for the deal, as did Unite. The Unite recommendation was especially disappointing given that when GMB and Unison signed up for the Heads of Agreement, Unite initially refused to do so.

The fight to reclaim our unions for the members has to be stepped up. This could be a drawn-out process. But we must take heart from what took place in the civil service union, PCS. PCS and its forerunner unions were controlled by the right wing for many years, but the Left waged a long term battle for democracy and for a fighting programme and now the PCS is one of the most active and prominent unions in the fight against austerity.

We need to defend union democracy against unelected officials who see their role as 'policing' the membership. We need genuine lay democracy. Imagine what a powerful weapon Unison and other unions could be if they had a combative approach. These are our unions, and we want them back!

Branches who think on the same lines need to coordinate. Elected positions in the union need to be fought for and won. Our industrial strategy can't be limited to a big march and then a big day of strike action, with months or years in between!

We need to link up with all public and private sector unions for coordinated action. A 24-hour general strike would be a huge step forward to building the necessary unity - and would send a serious warning shot across the Con-Dems' bows.

Let us also remember that there are unions across the public sector that are still in the pensions battle - some of which took action on 10 May and could look to further action in the autumn.

There needs to be a discussion among Unison, Unite and GMB members about the link with the Labour Party and the way forward in terms of political representation.

Around 80% of the cuts are still to be implemented so we also need a political strategy, one which goes beyond the Labour-inspired: "cuts but a bit less severe than the Tories". The unions need to discuss the policies of nationalisation, public ownership and a socialist alternative.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 29 August 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Build for a 24-hour general strike!

The Julian Assange case

Galloway's ignorant comments

Gove stole our exam grades!

Crisis services handed over to charity food banks

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

Building workers fight pay cut threat

Sparks protest at London Crown House site

Local government pension scheme

Sheffield recycling workers to resume strike action

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Jobs and homes, not racism

East Midlands: Save our ambulance service

NHS: Unions must defend national pay bargaining

TUSC councillor rejects Walsall cuts 'consultation'


Prison work - 3 a day is exploitation for profit

Women's prisons - Con-Dems' 'reforms' mean cuts and privatisation

International socialist news and analysis

Norway: Mass murderer Anders Breivik gets life sentence

Kazakhstan: Human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin freed

Reviews and comments

Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life

Fight council tax benefit cuts

The 'madness' of building homes

Socialist Party news

Notting Hill carnival-goers support Lonmin miners

Socialist Party summer camp

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Save our computer server!


Home   |   The Socialist 29 August 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:

Local government:

triangleCovid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

triangleCouncils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity

triangleAnger as London local authorities bulldoze through powers to discipline workers

triangleWhere's the PPE Welsh Assembly?

triangleUnite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor


triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

triangleTory think tank proposes attack on pensions

triangleFrench workers demonstrating in Paris on 16 January; Over 40 days of strike action have taken place against the government's attack on pensions. Photo James Ivens

triangleFrance: Battle over pension rights continues


triangleTesting shambles: unions must fight back

triangleJobs, training, pay, we want a future!

triangleUS presidential election nominees Howie Hawkins & Angela Walker talk with CWI media next Sunday, 27 Sept, 3pm. Facebook: socialistworld Youtube: cwimedia


triangleReinstate Tony Smith

triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary


triangleCovid and the campuses


triangleLobbying for a lead from the TUC


triangleThe Socialist: More than a newspaper

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


The Socialist

The Socialist: More than a newspaper



Coventry: Socialist Students is back



Liverpool Council must save care homes



Sussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools


Fighting Fund

Fighting fund: One week to raise 3,444



Workplace news in brief



Dispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!


The Socialist

Selling the Socialist


Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed


Young people

Covid generation says 'fund our future'



Coventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges


National Shop Stewards Network

Lobbying for a lead from the TUC



Angry health workers demand 15% now!



Reinstate Richie Venton



Reinstate Tony Smith

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020