ON December 20th the major local government trade unions, after coming under massive attack from their local government members, suspended their support, agreed on December 19, for the coalition government’s pension busting plan.
The Unite statement said: ‘The Local Government Trade Unions have been surprised by the response from Eric Pickles to the joint proposal from the unions and Local Government Association for reform of the LGPS.
We understand the Secretary of State’s response has subsequently been withdrawn.
‘In light of this confusion, we therefore suspend our agreement and now seek an urgent meeting with government to establish an agreed way forward.’
Unite national officer for local authorities, Peter Allenson, said: ‘There is a real crisis of confidence and trust which really can only be restored by this urgent meeting as soon as possible.’
The undiplomatic Pickles had let too much of the cat out of the bag in relation to the Tory pension plans and had embarrassed the trade union bureaucracy.
Millions of workers whose pensions are about to be destroyed, no doubt would like to know just how there could be any confidence and trust between such a government of pension butchers, and the workers’ trade union organisations.
Nevertheless, confidence and trust between the government and the trade union leaders was quickly restored, by the next day, as the embarrassing Pickles’ letter was rapidly withdrawn.
Thursday’s TU statement read: ‘Discussions between the chief secretary to the treasury, SoS for local government, the TUC, GMB, Unison and the LGA today agreed that the proposed way forward for reform of the lgps as originally agreed has now been confirmed.
‘The agreement means that the local govt trade unions and the lga, with the dclg, will commence detailed negotiations in the new year.
‘All those involved welcome the speedy clarification from ministers that has enabled this agreement to be taken forward.’
Brian Strutton, GMB national officer, said: ‘I’m pleased we have sorted out yesterday;s confusion. Both Danny Alexander and Eric Pickles have given me the assurances I sought and a new letter from EP has been agreed, this means we have an agreement going forward into the new year.’
Everything is grand once again as the bosses government and the trade union leaders resume their love-in over the best way to break the back of the local government workers’ pensions.
The trade union bureaucracy is under the illusion that it has become a partner of the most reactionary government since the Second World War.
Actually, they are its most humble servants, with the exception of the Unite trade union leadership, which had not made its mind up whether to resume its collaboration with the pensions busters by yesterday late afternoon.
All thought of further strike action by local government workers has now been ditched by the leaders.
They intend to allow teachers, the PCS and sections of the health workers to fight on their own, while they play footsy with their trusted coalition friends.
In fact, they are proud of the role. The Unison statement said yesterday: ‘We are pleased that the agreement on principles and a timeline for more talks on the local government pensions scheme, are back on track. They have the green light from government, marking a major step forward in the dispute over public sector pensions.
‘We have always argued that as the local government scheme has funds worth more than £140 billion, it should be dealt with in a different way to the other Treasury-backed schemes.’
They have stabbed the working class in the back and they are proud of it, stating that allowing the Tories to divide and rule was always their policy.
It is clear that this reformist leadership of the trade unions must be swept away since they can only betray and sell out the working class and the Welfare state.
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