Public sector pay and pensions update: 25 July 2012

25 July 2012

Latest on the battle over austerity in the public sector

The conference of the UCU lecturers’ union voted for its executive to support coordinated national strike action over pensions with other unions in the autumn. This should mean it joins the PCS civil service union and the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions in action.

The NASUWT has a live ballot result covering pensions, pay and conditions, while the NUT is balloting now for strikes over pay and conditions – its pensions ballot is still live.

Local government

The GMB is balloting members over the pensions deal drawn up after its leader Paul Kenny – along with Unison’s Dave Prentis – signed up to the government’s ‘heads of agreement’ in December, in a huge setback to the public sector pensions campaign.

The union’s officials are recommending acceptance of this shoddy deal. Unite the Resistance urges GMB members to reject it.

The largest local government union, Unison will start its ballot of members who are eligible for the Local Government Pension Scheme on 31 July.

Unison’s Higher Education service group executive has voted to urge rejection of the deal.

The Local Government SGE voted to recommend it, although many branches have voted to recommend rejection.

Unison NEC member Jon Rogers has pointed out that branches have the right to urge their members to reject, regardless of the SGE’s decision, despite a circular from head office that appears to suggest they can’t.

In London, Regional Local Government Executive member John McLoughlin has reported that the RLGE voted in favour of rejection of the proposals, while consultation had shown that a majority of members in the region who expressed a view also wanted to reject, and there was also a majority to reject among the branches that expressed a view.

It is important that as many Unison members, branches and other union bodies as possible urge rejection of the deal. The strike on 30 November showed the potential to force the government back and win a decent deal on pensions across the public sector – including local government.

The Fire Brigades Union is holding a consultative ballot of its control staff members in the local government scheme. The FBU’s executive council has rightly stated that the deal is ‘still unacceptable’.

Pic: Kelvin Williams

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