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All out on 28 March to defend pensions!

The next round of pensions strikes on 28 March needs to be massive, argues Jeremy Dewar

• No cuts to pensions – no rise in retirement age
• Unite with other workers in struggle – stop all the cuts
• Escalate the strikes – stay out to win

On 1 April, millions of workers could lose around £50 a month from their pay packets. Within two years, the amount deducted could be £200 a month.
When they retire, sometime in their late 60s, they might lose tens of thousands of pounds, while today’s pensioners already face erosion of their meagre income.

That’s why hundreds of thousands of teachers, civil servants and nurses are right to strike on 28 March in defence of their pension schemes. They are right to reject the Pay more, work longer, get less offer from the coalition government. They are right to continue from last year’s strikes left off.
Education workers in the NUT, UCU, possibly Nasuwt, alongside the regional unions, EIS, UCAC and INTO, civil servants in the PCS, Nipsa and Unite members in the MoD, and health workers in Unite and Scottish Unison could all be out in coordinated strike action.

It is a disgrace that other union leaders, like Dave Prentis of Unison and the GMB’s Paul Kenny, have withdrawn their troops from the battle. Rank and file members in these unions should refuse to cross picket lines and demand the strikes are brought back on.

They have won no serious concessions through negotiations. More strikes are needed – and if these gentlemen cannot see that, then new leaders are needed as well, ones who are in touch with and accountable to ordinary members.

But we can all take heart from the tremendous victories scored recently by anti-workfare activists, who have forced multinational corporations, like Tesco and Burger King, to withdraw from the government’s slave labour schemes, or by electricians on building sites, who organised unofficially to frighten off construction giants like Balfour Beatty, from imposing a 35 per cent pay cut.

This shows we can win against the bosses and this makeshift government. But we need to take something of the spirit of the sparks. Let’s organise joint union meetings in every workplace and town to get out the vote and secure solidarity action.
Let’s draw students, welfare claimants and service users into the heart of our actions. And let’s demand our leaders escalate the action, leading to an all out, indefinite strike until all unions have won – or we will do it without them!

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