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The Socialist 7 September 2011 |
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Scotland - Unison calls for pensions strike
A Glasgow Unison member
Social care workers on strike in Scotland, photo Duncan Brown (Click to enlarge)
The mood among Unison members for strike action on being forced to pay more for a worse pension was driven home at the Scottish local government Unison conference on 2 September.
A resolution from the Glasgow City Unison branch was overwhelmingly passed which called on the union to "move towards industrial action, starting with a one-day strike in the autumn as part of an ongoing, coordinated campaign to deliver sustained and effective action."
By a margin of 4:1 the 120 delegates representing 32 Scottish local government branches passed the motion.
Significantly, the Scottish local government executive unanimously recommended support, reflecting the enormous pressure that's building up from below in Unison.
A Unison pensions 'summit' is due to take place in late September. This should be a council of war to declare the union's intention to call an immediate UK-wide strike ballot. Other regions of Unison should also be demanding immediate action on the pensions front and for this to be coordinated with other public sector unions.
Following the success of the 30 June strike action against pension cuts involving the PCS across the UK and teaching unions in England and Wales, Unison members demanded to know why their union was not involved.
With similar action being planned for the autumn by the teaching union EIS in Scotland there will be calls on the Unison leadership to lead a fight.
The attack on pensions has the potential to be the catalyst for a one-day strike across the whole public sector, as a first step.
Negotiations with the government and employers can only be aided by a clear demonstration by the trade unions that they intend to take effective strike action unless these attacks are stopped.
The Con-Dem government can be stopped in its tracks on pensions provided the full power of the movement is used.
The Scottish local government Unison vote shows there is an overwhelming mood to fight. What is needed is a leadership in Unison that can match up to the mood of membership.