Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/766/16717
From The Socialist newspaper, 22 May 2013
Firefighters prepare for pensions battle
London firefighters rally against service cuts, photo Ben Robinson (Click to enlarge)
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) met on 15-17 May in the teeth of enormous attacks on firefighters and on the life-saving service they provide. From threats of station closures to the 1,200 jobs that were cut in the last year, it's clear that the Con-Dems would rather see working class people killed in the ravages of fire than ask those responsible for the economic crisis to foot the bill.
It's therefore unsurprising that a mood of defiance prevailed among the conference delegates. A determination to resist was evident in almost every conversation and there was a clear thirst for ideas and a strategy for defeating this vicious government.
Copies of the Socialist sold well and the new pamphlet 'Don't vote for cuts', drawing lessons from Southampton's struggle against cuts, was a real success. The demand for a 24-hour general strike also gained a big echo when discussed.
Perhaps the central discussion was on the question of a strategy to defend pensions in the service. The proposed attacks include further increases in the employee contributions to the scheme and, outrageously, an increase in the age of retirement from 55 to 60. A ridiculous proposal when you consider the physical demands of the job.
The conference unanimously passed a 'seven point plan' of demands that the union would make of the government, passed on the understanding that if the government fail to negotiate in good faith this would be followed with a ballot for crucial industrial action.
In an act of apparent provocation, the conference ended on the day another raft of attacks were announced - veiled in the language of reform - with the publication of the Knight Review. Nothing could emphasise better the need for a fightback to save our fire service and, by extension, the lives of countless ordinary people.
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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.
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In The Socialist 22 May 2013:
Fight the bedroom tax
End this 'evil bedroom tax'
Anti-bedroom tax federation launched in Merseyside
Bedroom tax campaigning in Leytonstone, Birmingham and Newham
Socialist Party news and analysis
Tories in turmoil over Europe
Big business tax avoidance scandal
Another blow for workfare
NHS staff under the cuts cosh
Them & Us
Socialist Party feature
Fighting cuts in wales
International socialist news and analysis
South African economy: Mass sacking threat demands mass action
Sri Lanka: Isolate the murderous Rajapaksa regime
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Southampton TUSC rally
Anti-blacklisting campaigner run over
University backs down: students and workers win!
Support for Mid Yorkshire Health struggle in the Mirror
Strike against legal aid cuts
March against the G8
London Socialist Party regional conference
Socialist Party workplace news
Fighting back pays off: Thera East Midlands forced to make concessions
POA conference - Prisons should not be run for profit
Support Carling brewery workers at Burton-on-Trent
Sacked Tesco drivers on the march again
PCS members fight Land Registry privatisation
Firefighters prepare for pensions battle
Workplace news in brief
Cuts kill: Con-Dem benefit 'reforms', mental health and suicide
Why I joined the socialists
The Socialist 22 May 2013 |
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