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We can win pensions dispute, despite right leading a retreat

The retreat by union leaders has not helped the dispute – but the fight isn't all over either.


The retreat by union leaders has not helped the dispute. But the fight isn’t all over either.

There is still enormous anger across Britain. Workers keep on voting overwhelmingly for more strikes.

But the most right wing union leaders have pulled the better ones into a retreat. This has rightly led to anger among workers—but has also caused some demoralisation.

There will be a battle to get national strikes put back on.

On 30 November striker after striker said that they wouldn’t beat the Tories with a one-day strike alone. They were right.

We will need more strikes, involving workers in different unions. They will need to be national and for more than one day. And we will have to fight to involve other groups of workers and spread the struggle.

As Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told delegates to last year’s Unison conference, “To those who say ‘name the day’ I say ‘a day won’t be enough’. This coalition won’t move with one day.”

Beating the government can sometimes seem like a pipedream. The Tories can look strong. But they aren’t as strong as they like to pretend.

The government is stumbling from crisis to crisis. In one week it is hit by the backlash over the Health and Social Care Bill. In another it is phone hacking that is giving David Cameron a headache.

This week it’s a corruption scandal that has got the Tories panicking.

Mass strikes can break the Tories—and they know it.

That’s why they hurl abuse at public sector workers every time they fight back.

Strikes on 30 November gave millions of workers a new confidence. We need to regain the momentum of the dispute to avoid this turning into demoralisation.

The pensions dispute is about more than just pensions. If public sector workers win it will transform class struggle in Britain.

It will throw the entire Tory assault on ordinary people into question and give everyone confidence to take them on.


Article information

News
Tue 27 Mar 2012, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2296
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