Maude-Miliband Unite To Condemn Pension Strikers

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YESTERDAY’S stoppage in defence of pensions saw 90 per cent of PCS members stopping work, the biggest turn-out for strike action in the union’s history, despite the massive media propaganda onslaught against the strike action on behalf of the coalition.

In London there was a huge demonstration of over 70,000 trade unionists and their families – just one of the hundreds of demonstrations that took place all over the UK yesterday.

There was no lack of support, as the coalition propaganda machine maintained; there was massive support and a determination to take further strike action.

As expected, the Tory-led coalition sought to take advantage of the divisions between the unions, which came to the fore when PCS leader Serwotka described the latest talks with the government as ‘rubbish’, while Unison’s Prentis and the TUC leader Barber praised the government for its ‘serious’ attitude to the talks, falling for the Tory ‘divide and rule’ ploy – the suggestion that there was some scope for negotiations on local government, all the better to present yesterday’s strikers as ‘splitters’.

The boss of the cabinet strike breakers organisation, the ‘Star Chamber’, Francis Maude, in fact attacked the PCS leader Serwotka for ‘betraying’ the other public sector union leaders by ‘shunning the negotiations’. This is when the government has made it crystal clear that pension cuts, working longer, and paying more were non-negotiable. Serwotka was told that his loyalty should not be to his members but to the trade union bureaucrats!

Maude said: ‘It’s only Mark Serwotka and two of the teaching unions who, for reasons of their own which no-one else can really fathom, have decided to jump the gun going for this premature action.’

The huge turn-out yesterday was just the answer to the Tory drivel!

Maude continued to say: ‘Mark saying there is nothing to talk about – you are calling Brendan Barber, you are calling Dave Prentis liars, you are saying that they’re being somehow duped by us into engaging in a process which has no reality.’

However, the coalition was not alone in its attacks on the strikers.

Labour leader Miliband also opposed the strikes and volunteered that Labour MPs would be encouraged to cross picket lines.

This is the party that is relying on the trade unions to save it from financial bankruptcy.

Miliband and Co are so loyal to the bosses that they are prepared to bite off the hand that has been feeding them.

Miliband and Co will no doubt support the new anti- union laws that the Tories are threatening to bring in.

These are to be a new version of the Combination Acts that will make strike actions illegal for the duration of the economic crisis, and thereby cement ruthless wage cutting, pension busting and mass sackings.

After yesterday’s historic strike action the struggle must be stepped up.

The trade union movement must close ranks. The NUT, ATL, PCS and UCU must demand that the whole movement takes one-day general strike action in September on the issue of the defence of pensions.

The coalition must be told that if it proceeds with its attacks on pensions a September one-day action will be followed by an indefinite general strike.

This is the only way to proceed with a real defence of pensions.

Otherwise, the trade union movement will be hanging around waiting for the Tories to bring in anti-union laws and for an open split to emerge when the right wing of the TUC declares that it will not break the law.

As well, action must be taken on Miliband and the Labour Party leadership before it decides that it will support new anti-union laws to halt the pension strikes.

The unions must stop all finances to the Labour Party until it supports the pension strikes. This is the only way forward!