I was in deepest Deptford at my own Lewisham NUT Pensions Briefing last night then in a countryside pub for Bedfordshire NUT’s meeting tonight. Two very different venues but one very determined and unified message – we’re striking together to defend our pensions!
Both meetings showed that members had not been taken in by the Government’s minimal ‘offer’. But their manoeuvring has raised trade unionists’ confidence that Cameron, Gove and Maude are having to take notice and that we can force them to retreat much further.
The number of unions declaring for action continues to grow. Radiographers, physiotherapists and further civil service unions are just the latest to add their forces to the millions preparing for action on November 30.
The Bedfordshire meeting was also addressed by a local GMB schools’ officer who, while awaiting their ballot result announcement, confidently said that he was yet to talk to a GMB support staff member who was not going to join the strike. He also pointed out that, while many classroom assistants are on low part-time and/or term-time only wages, they will still be hit by big contribution increases because the contribution rates are based on full-time equivalent annual rates of pay.
There’s a lot of hard work to be done over the next two weeks explaining, encouraging and answering the lies that will be circulated by Ministers and some Council Officers to try and undermine our action. But if these meetings are anything to go by, they won’t succeed in stopping unions uniting in an overwhelming show of strength on November 30.