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Council staff vote for mass strikes over pensions

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JDMF's picture
JDMF
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Mar 16 2006 20:08

make no mistake, this is going to be fucking huge in terms of numbers!

Hey, who else (not in the mentioned unions) is tempted to take the day off to participate in events, pickets etc on the day? tongue

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 16 2006 20:10

Nice one JDMF, good to seee a bit of bite and initiative.

Steven-dont cross the picket line, i did it a few weeks back when the PCS were out, i was temping and thought that if i refused to cross i'd lose my job, i spoke with the pickets and siad that they should at least try to encourage me to not cross the picket, but they didnt give a shit, they were just there because theyd been told to. If you get confronted by a particularly apathetic picket talk some sense into them. I crossed the line and felt like an absolute traitor, even if the action was fragmented and half hearted.

Quote:
Lazy Wrote:

In what way will the strikes prevent that from occuring? Are you proposing a universal retirement age of 45? You should, that way you're striking FOR something rather than AGAINST something. People will gravitate towards such a positive movement.

Agree with this lazy, strikes should ideally be offensive and FOR something, clealr ythis wont happen with the current union structures as all theyre interested in is keeping the social order ticking over nicely. But one day i'd hope we can strike on the offensive, this will only come when workers realise the power of withdrawing their labour and the possibilities of a free world.

Quote:
ftony wrote:

solidarity wildcat strikes?

or is that a little too far-fetched?

Now if this was France, Italy, Spain this would be a possibilty, we in england however are a meek and submissive race who are suckers for punishment! This shouldnt be far-fetched at all and the only way we can make it a reality is organising in our work places and communities, advocating direct democracy and direct conflict with bosses and employers. We seem to be afflicted with a real lethargy, almost embarrasment of organisng outside unions at work, its awkward cus at most places the work force is young, temporary and usually in a job just as a means of getting by while they look for other employment, this all makes it hard to argue for class struggle and what have you, thats just from a personal experince anyway.

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Steven.
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Mar 16 2006 20:15
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Steven-dont cross the picket line, i did it a few weeks back when the PCS were out, i was temping and thought that if i refused to cross i'd lose my job, i spoke with the pickets and siad that they should at least try to encourage me to not cross the picket, but they didnt give a shit, they were just there because theyd been told to. If you get confronted by a particularly apathetic picket talk some sense into them. I crossed the line and felt like an absolute traitor, even if the action was fragmented and half hearted.

Yeah that reflects my previous experience. I most likely won't cross cos I don't see that I actually could, the idea makes me feel physically sick, but if I did it'd be after discussion and with the agreement to not do anything. And donate my day's wages to the workers' movement (well, probably libcom - scabbing for the revolution wink)

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We seem to be afflicted with a real lethargy, almost embarrasment of organisng outside unions at work

Or, let's be honest, within them as well.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 16 2006 20:16

if libcom are going to get a pamphlet together in time for this then something along these lines should be in the pamphlet

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As to actually defending public sector pensions in themselves, the bourgeoisie simply can’t afford to finance their commitment. In order to maintain them you’d need such a revolutionary change in the way the money supply works that the very notion of a “pension” as it currently stands would be largely irrelevant anyway.

if you could link something as huge and far recahing as this to the economic system as a whole it could be 'revolutionary'!

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 16 2006 20:18
Quote:
Quote:

We seem to be afflicted with a real lethargy, almost embarrasment of organisng outside unions at work

Or, let's be honest, within them as well.

Yes but from my experience of the PCS i'd be ashamed if i wasnt embarrassed of being involved in the union.....if that makes sense confused

I'm not in the union btw.....

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Rob Ray
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Mar 16 2006 21:17

Incidentally does anyone know any libertarian firefighters? Pm me if you do, I wanna talk to them about pensions.

Barry Kade
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Mar 16 2006 21:31

Have wrtten a brief and up-beat outline of the strike for use on the news page:

Workers Vote for Mass Strike in Britain over Pensions Crisis.

Tuesday 28th March could see strike action by one and a half million workers across more than nine different unions. The strike has been provoked by an attack on the local government pension scheme, with the labour government planning to increase the age workers can retire at. With this attack workers will loose the right to retire at 60 – a right that had been established for those with more than 25 years service. Many of these are low paid workers who statistically die earlier.

The strike will involve workers in councils, schools, police authorities, further and higher education, environment agencies, and privatised companies whose workers used to be part of local government. The strike will stretch way beyond local government, involving transport workers such as toll collectors on bridges as well as many bus drivers in cities such as Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Airports such as Leeds airport will also be shut by the strike. March 28th 2006 could therefore be the largest strike in Britain since the 1926 general strike.

Britain has seen 20 years of defeats for the Trades Union movement, as each group of strikers stood alone. The strike over pensions could be different, as it involves so many different groups of workers acting together. It could also provide an example to many other groups of workers in privately own industry who are also seeing their pension rights attacked.

It is hoped that towns and cities across the country will see multiple picket lines, marches and rallies bringing the strikers together and increasing their confidence and sense of class-consciousness. One day’s strike, however impressive, is unlikely to shift the government and its capitalist backers. Therefore Tuesday 28th of March has to be just the start. Union leaders are also now talking about more action, with the general secretary of Unison, one the biggest unions saying: "We are digging in for the long term. This will not be one day of action - a whole range will be considered including further days of strikes and selective action." Union members must hold these leaders to their words, making sure that they do not call the strike off, but escalate it. Rallies and pickets can be a step towards involving the maximum amount of workers in the running of the strike, which would be a major ingredient leading to victory.

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Steven.
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Mar 16 2006 21:33

nice one barry - am PMing you now

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Mar 17 2006 07:27
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
if libcom are going to get a pamphlet together in time for this then something along these lines should be in the pamphlet
Quote:
As to actually defending public sector pensions in themselves, the bourgeoisie simply can’t afford to finance their commitment. In order to maintain them you’d need such a revolutionary change in the way the money supply works that the very notion of a “pension” as it currently stands would be largely irrelevant anyway.

if you could link something as huge and far recahing as this to the economic system as a whole it could be 'revolutionary'!

i dont think there is any value in producing a leaflet with incomprehensive gibberish and "only solution is libertarian communist revolution" rant.

We have to be able to provide concrete suggestions but from a revolutionary perspective. Its not always easy though, thats true, and you have to be careful not to end up sounding like a reformist grin

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Mar 17 2006 09:39

Hi

Quote:
i dont think there is any value in producing a leaflet with incomprehensive gibberish and "only solution is libertarian communist revolution" rant

Too true. We’ve seen it many times, and it’s always a bit weak and weird. But there’s an opportunity, rarely taken, to put a refreshing spin on the situation, provide a common sense analysis of what’s happening and differentiate ourselves clearly from the left milieu in way that comes over in a positive light.

Love

LR

Battlescarred
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Mar 17 2006 09:54

Ok. See you on the picket line then, cos I'm one of those on strike that day

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Mar 17 2006 11:27

Hi

Quote:
See you on the picket line then

Definitely. As a pensioner myself, I can normally count on pickets to give me a bit of spare change for my Skol Super Strength.

There is a rather large council office nearby, I'll go and love them up a bit on the day.

Love

LR

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Mar 17 2006 13:26
Barry Kade wrote:

Well, if it goes ahead it will be significant. (The unions called off the last one before the 2005 general election). But lets assume it does (talks have broken down etc).

1.5 million workers on strike from nine different unions all on the same day! School dinner ladies, some significant public transport operations, police civilian staff, refuse collectors, council admin, welfare etc etc. Local newspapers already have headlines like 'city in grip of mass strike' etc.

It was pretty good just seeingt the AUT picket lines. What will be the effect of having dozens of different picket lines in every town and city, in terms of the generalising effect on class consciousness?

Surely this is not a mundane affair!

If it goes on for one day it is, i'm not saying i won't be trying to organise for this, but don't over egg it as something that will in one fell swoop reverse trade union decline, thats just quick fix bollocks. This won't deal with victimisation, years of sell outs, scab leaders and defeat or structural problems within unions themselves, and to infer it will is both insulting and patronising. I have plenty of family on strike but i wouldn't talk to them in the way you do, so why would i lie to other people like this. Sorry for the tone of my reply but i disilke this over-optimism.

Quote:
Now, what activists could push for is city and town wide rallies on the day, bringing together all the different strikers. And its an issue that millions who are not on strike can relate to.

See now thats possible, i think that it would be very important to have a follow up demonstration on the weekend though, since a one of rally is almost counter-productive. I will be popping over to simons for some long talk on this tonight no doubt. Hopefully it won't involve door to door lefletting, which i always look at with a feeling of dread. Socialism is so embarrassing isn't it.

Quote:
Yes, it will be hard for youth based far left groups - anarchists, communists and anticapitalists to call this. So it will be the more rooted and reformist oriented activists who you will have to talk to. Trades councils might be able to do something. (Its probably easier for young anti-capitalists to pull off a student or other type of occupation than organise a strike rally). But you coiuld visit the picket lines with leaflets, etc.

I think you're more of student than i am these days wink

And no its actually not a good idea to be simply on the picket lines with the militants, since to a certain extent what good are you actually doing there but preaching to the converted, and the badly converted at that, older generation activists lost in illusions of the labour-left. Far more important in my mind is the fact that for most people, a train strike means how the fuck can you get to work every day, if you want to genuinely raise class consciosness, try argueing with someone who earns £5 an hour and who can't get to work because the bus is late, if you genuinely want the strike to win, tahts what you have to do, its fucking a lot harder than chanting slogans with a few old crusty lefties aswell and i have no idea if i'm up to it at all, i'm probably not.

However, i won't have much time to do so, since i will be at work, and can't spend all day on the ''picket lines'' offering my ''help'' to the strikers, perhaps i will try in my lunch hour.

Quote:
Also, it might be (hopefully) more than a one day affair. Dave Prentis, the national gen sec of Unison, said: "We are digging in for the long term. This will not be one day of action - a whole range will be considered including further days of strikes and selective action."

Dave Prentis is filth. Simple as.

Quote:
So while people may be guarded about gettinng too excited, given the history of defeats, divison and sell outs, their is a danger of being too cynical, and letting a major moment in the class struggle in Britain pass you by.

Oh of course, all i'm saying is i don't see why i should be dishonest and say i'm full of hope for this. The average person reading the news on the strike isn't thick, they're not going to think ''oh right, so we're going to see a revival of a class struggle based movement'', they're going to say ''oh right one day strike, what a let down'' or worse, so surely that should be your starting point in terms of the viewpoint you relkate to.

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Mar 17 2006 13:33
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi
Quote:
but if you want to make a productive arguement go ahead and make one

If we put forward a progressive agenda of reducing the retirement age rather than simply defending an existing system, which is bankrupt anyway, then it’s something that the public can latch on to and show us in a positive light rather than just being another load of whinging lefties expecting the tax payer to bail us out of our cushy pensions (and yes, I’ve got a public sector pension too, so nah).

Love

LR

fair enough, but this is hardly something to blame on the strike is it, a lack of a positive agenda is indicative of the entire communist movement, its not like that can be reversed in a fortnight

PM'd you on this btw

lucy82
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Mar 20 2006 22:01

don't know if anyones mentioned this already cause i'm to lazy to read all the thread but the next two strike days after the first are planned to be April 3rd and 4th cause the 4th is the local elections so that'll rattle their trolley.

i think either the unions will roll over ina deal before then or the government will put some kind of stalling talks back in place and the strike on the 4th won't go ahead but i'm only guessing.

i'll be on the picket line next tuesday anyway and i promise not to be apethetic. if it does go ahead on the 4th i'll be shooting myself in the foot twice cause i've applied to do polling clerk work that day (colloborator that i am cause i need the cash) and thats a good scam cause you get paid twice, once from work and once from the elections but still, solidarity and all that. i can't cross picket lines. i remember the miners strike and i just can't.

Barry Kade
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Mar 20 2006 23:30

Hi Lucy. Aren't the local elections on the 4th May?

But thats good that more strikes have been called on 3rd & 4th April. Where can I find out more?

(And Hey, Cantdo confused - WTF with your post? Did you actually read what I said before you fired off your instant denunciations? Jeez, mate! )

lucy82
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Mar 21 2006 06:49
Quote:
Aren't the local elections on the 4th May?

dammit yr right. i thought they were may but pple at work confused me with words embarrassed

anyway, i'll get some info on next planned strikes for you from work

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Mar 21 2006 09:50
lucy82 wrote:
anyway, i'll get some info on next planned strikes for you from work

Yeah I've heard nothing about this. Sounds interesting though!

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Mar 21 2006 09:53

Is there any red n black star material being produced for this strike?

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Rob Ray
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Mar 21 2006 12:28

Freedom'll have it on the front cover, if that's any help, and should be on time for once so will be out.

We've mostly gone with the 'it's not likely to do much on its own except be annoying for the workforce, but you shouldn't cross pickets and it could be used to push for greater militancy in future if people get their act together' angle, via quotes from a couple of Libcom posters wink .

Barry Kade
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Mar 21 2006 19:31

As part of the strike there will be demonstrations and rallies throughout Britain next Tuesday 28 March. Here are some. If you here of one in your locality...please add!

* Aberdeen 10.30am, Rubislaw Terrace

* Bristol 11.30am, Castle Green

* Dundee 11am, Hilltown Park

* Leeds 11am, Leeds City Art Gallery, Headrow

* Glasgow 11.30am, Blythswood Square, Glasgow Green

* Manchester 12 noon, Albert Square

* Newcastle 12 noon, Grey’s Monument

* Nottingham 11.30am, Forest Fields

* Plymouth 11am, Civic Centre, Royal Parade

lucy82
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Mar 21 2006 20:29

i'm especially pissed off now cause i got my state pension forcast the other day (god, i feel old now) and the year they put up the state pension age to 65 is the year i turn 60 but not till 8 weeks AFTER they put up the pension age. i hate them, i hate them, The Man is after me personally y'know angry

and stuff all this men/women equality business. i don't want to work until i'm 65. i've already worked since i was 16 apart from 4 yrs out to get the education i'd maybe should have been able to get when i was younger only somehow noone mentioned university to us.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr angry angry angry

don't try and cross my picket line. you've been warned.

ps. i only started on my 'cushy' pension now three years ago and unlike LR i have no private pension. lifes a bitch.

things like the 85 rule don't affect me but they do affect some people i work with and anyway, i see this as part of a wider attack on pensions. i did get a young bloke to join the union by putting it too him that the goverment want you to pay more to your pension and your employer to pay less so effectively if you don't act, you are agreeing to take a paycut in the future (that and the solidarity stuff). anyway it worked and hes now in the union and going on strike.

i surprise myself. ME recruiting for unions. bloody hell. eek

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Mar 21 2006 21:45
Barry Kade wrote:

* Manchester 12 noon, Albert Square

apparently local unison bosses have been thinking of scrapping the rally on manchester. If anyone has any more details please let us know! (or in the north west forum).

Anyways, i'll be going in solidarity as it is a lunchtime rally.

IanB
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Mar 21 2006 23:18

* Edinburgh 12 noon, Market Street with a march to the Ross Bandstand

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Steven.
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Mar 22 2006 15:54

On the other thread lucy82 wrote:

lucy82 wrote:
in the upcoming strike week after next for pensions we've been told that the company will honour leave booked before the strike date was announced but anyone who takes that day off work apart from that will be assumed to be striking ...

on the funnier side, the big boss came in on friday and said "i need to know whether any of you are not striking for operational needs to sort out cover" and there was a long silence and everyone just looked at him which was quite amusing.

and last strike we got free breakfast given us from the cafe across the road. solidarity bacon :)

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Mar 22 2006 19:54

Okay in my office we seem to be very low on support (poss 3 out of 20), there seems to be more union members crossing the line than picketing, but we will see how things go. Thus far the union seemed to have put some organisation in place, and tried under circumstances to inform members, locally, but I think the national stratergy is nothing short of shit.

regards

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Mar 22 2006 23:24

I can't say I feel an overwhelming sense of optimism, but we struggle on...

UNISON seem to be semi-mobilising, a bit more than last time. Where I work there's little enthusiasm and I can see a fair few of our 90 members crossing the (small) picket line.

Thanks to the people who posted the rally details, I've heard nothing from the union(s) about these. Did they go up on the UNISON website today?

As regards the question about whether any libertarian leaflets would be distributed, there's a Scottish IWW leaflet at the printers.

Any wobs/libertarians/malcontents planning to attend Glasgow or Embra rallies?

red n black star

Barry Kade
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Mar 23 2006 03:18

MORE STRIKE RALLIES ON THE 28TH.....

CORNWALL

"Strike rally on the piazza in Truro, Cornwall!- A picket line will be set up on Tuesday morning at offices in Truro and Camborne. After the picketing there will be a rally on the piazza in Truro for all the striking workers, where information will be exchanged on future industrial action".

CARDIFF

Strike rally at the Millennium Stadium.

Picket lines are being organised at around 200 council premises in the Cardiff area.

HERTFORD

Unison plans to hold a rally to disrupt business at County Hall in Hertford on the day. This will coincide with the decision on whether to close Radlett Fire Station, and another planned protest by hundreds of Fire Brigades Union members.

ftony
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Mar 23 2006 09:36

is there anything happening in london?

i'm too lazy to find out for myself

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JDMF
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Mar 23 2006 09:42
ftony wrote:
i'm too lazy to find out for myself

fucking anarchists! angry

in this thread mate:

http://libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8781