After the trade union marches and strikes against the Coalition’s pension cuts the unions went straight back into the serious business of working with government officials in order to implement the latest austerity measures. November 30 was deliberately chosen by the unions for a strike in order to cause the minimum disruption – the airlines for example privately welcomed the date. “Now, after the strike” says Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison, “we want to reach a negotiated settlement”. So individually, behind the scenes, relying on their usual tactics of division and secret talks, the unions are again working with the government against the interests of the working class.
Mark Serwotka’s Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) gives us a good idea of what to expect. Serwotka presents his union as a militant defender of working class interests but the opposite is the truth. In 2006, the PCS “negotiated” with the then Labour Government, the raising of the retirement age of its members from 60 to 65 and greatly reduced payments by agreeing to go from a final salary scheme to a career average. This was put in place in 2007.
Further, the PCS has proposed to increase its own workers’ pension payments by 10% in 3 consecutive yearly hikes of three-and-a-third per cent. The PCS workers belong to a branch of the GMB union and seeing that the proposals have been in the hands of the president of “[email protected]” branch since last July, a stitch up of the workers by both unions is on the cards. More than this, while the PCS has gone to the High Court (where the union’s lawyers get even richer) to challenge the government’s move to change pension entitlements based on the higher Retail Price Index (RPI) to the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI), the union has imposed exactly this change on its own workers’ pension scheme, thus further cutting the value of their pension payments (employees benefits.co.uk)
This hypocrisy is one more indication of the double language of the unions who not only do not defend our interests but are part of the attack upon them.