Who will be out
Up to half a million workers will strike over pensions on 10 May.
The action will bring together members of the Unite, PCS, UCU, Nipsa and RMT unions. It will hit hospitals, colleges, job centres, transport and other key public services.
And it will show that the mood to fight the Tory attacks has not gone away.
The strike will see 100,000 Unite workers in the health service walk out.
Frank Wood is on Unite’s national executive committee and is a bio-medical scientist at King’s Hospital in London.
He told Socialist Worker, “It is absolutely critical that we don’t retreat on pensions. This attack is part of a coordinated attack by the government—we need a coordinated response.
“People are looking to the unions to give a lead. We must get organised now.”
Laura Miles, a member of the UCU’s national executive committee, said, “This is a fight against the government, not individual employers.
“That means we need to work with other unions to build serious action. Everyone knows that one-day strikes won’t be enough to win.
“In the UCU lecturers are fighting for more action after 10 May—including rolling strikes. We need to rebuild a sustained, national campaign.”
The Tories have already forced attacks on millions of public sector workers.
They have increased monthly pension contributions and switched the inflation measure that pensions are linked to—slashing their value.
They also want to force people to work longer before they can receive their full pension.
Frank said, “This week NHS staff will be getting their pay slips with an average £30 less as a result of the attack.
“This is quite a blow on top of a three-year pay freeze, attempts to introduce regional pay and harsh cuts.”
A magnificent coordinated strike on 30 November last year saw around 2.6 million workers take action together.
But since then many union leaders have either refused to call more action or have dithered over the next steps.
The NUT and UCU unions called a strike in London on 28 March. Other workers are glad to be joining this new strike.
Laura Jowell is a PCS rep in Bradford, west Yorkshire. She told Socialist Worker, “People are relieved that we’re coming out again on 10 May.
“There’s a sense that we’re building towards something bigger in June. This strike can kickstart the dispute again.”
Aileen Scott-McFarlane is a Unite rep and lab technician in London.
She said that in her workplace “the feeling of rage is now at boiling point”.
“It’s as though the feeling to fight is stronger than before. Now we are getting organised to make sure the strike is solid.”
The Tories’ policies will pave the way for more harsh attacks on ordinary people’s living standards.
The government plans to raise the state retirement age for men and women to 66 by 2020.
One study found that four in 10 firms expect that by 2020 workers will retire at 67 or later. And one in six companies expects the typical retirement age to be between 68 and 70.
“My quality of life is being threatened,” said Aileen. “And this isn’t a one-off—if they get this through, they’ll come back for more.”
Attack: working longer for less
Other sections are fighting to join the action too
Brendan Barber won’t be missed
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