SFEU (Solidarity Federation Education Union) continues to stand in solidarity with those workers who are currently involved in the UCU industrial actions taking place at FE and HE institutions across the country.
The UCU, at a Special Higher Education Sector Conference, has now set out the terms of the continuing dispute centred on pensions and the Four Fights (casualization, workload, equal pay and conditions for women and BAME workers and the broader issue of pay).
Our small but growing Union, the Solidarity Federation Education Union, supports this ballot and argues that workers should vote in favour of strike action to defend our pensions and conditions. With inflation rising, furlough ending, and historic injustices over pay, pensions and conditions continuing to prevail, the only option left to us is downing tools and walking out. To have any chance of success, this action must be both local and national and must build on the gains, small though they were, of the last period of strike action.
A healthcare worker writes about the recent pensions ‘sell out’, with the union capitulating to pension cuts.
It was less than three weeks following the Trade Union Congress’ (TUC) much-vaunted ‘day of action’ against the assault on public sector pensions when we heard the news that some of the unions had reached initial agreement with the Government on the proposed changes.
TUC General Secretary Brendon Barber appeared on national media crowing that the action at the end of November had brought ‘a new atmosphere’ to the negotiations and that in the local government and health sectors there was ‘a strong sense that some real progress has been made’. Although Barber was keen to stress that ‘at this stage, no agreements have been reached’ it was clear that this statement signaled the leaders of the major unions scurrying to the heel of the establishment.
Yesterday, Liverpool Solidarity Federation members joined picket lines in Liverpool and Bootle to offer support to strikers and attended a 20,000-strong march through the City Centre. Below are several personal reports from members' blogs.
A choice: race to the bottom or fight and win - blog by a Solfed member in the private sector who supported the strike.
Brighton SolFed were out in force today for the public sector strikes, which saw a huge turnout of perhaps 10,000. Three feeder marches converged on Victoria Gardens in the city centre before marching around town and ending with a rally at the Level. A brief personal report and pictures are below:
Biggest march I've seen in Brighton, I'd guess 5-10,000. Couldn't see the back or the front of the march and it was overflowing the Level where it ended. Cops tried to randomly arrest a bystander and apparently some black bloc types dearrested them.
Bulletin for the November 30th public sector strike (2011)
The big November 30 strike is drawing near. Rents and prices are rising, unemployment is going through the roof and at the same time wages are falling, benefits are slashed and people are being kicked out of their homes. The NHS is being sold-off while public services are decimated, schools and universities wrecked and the poor excluded. Officially these strikes are about pensions, but we all know it’s about a lot more than that.
We'll be keeping this post updated with plans for Brighton as we get them. So far:
Throughout the current pensions dispute, the government has attempted to divide workers by claiming that public sector workers receive far better pensions when compared to those working in the private sector. This is certainly true. But what is never explained is just why private sector pensions are so much worse. This is not surprising given that the vast majority of private sector pension schemes amount to little more than a license for the financial sector to make shed loads of money.
450 workers at the Visteon Cadiz Electronica factory are facing the scrapheap. The local section of the CNT union is fighting against the closure of the plant. Other reformist unions inside the plant are engaged in a pantomime struggle, focusing not on saving jobs but simply negotiating over redundancy plans with the bosses. The closure of the plant comes as no surprise: already in 2009, there was a temporary forced adjustment plan which affected almost the entire workforce for six months, and skilled workers were moved to other facilities of the multinational, preparing the ground to continue producing the same car components elsewhere. This follows a pattern which is now well known.
An unbranded poster designed to promote the upcoming pension strikes.