Wednesday 9 November 2011

Don't let them turn the clock back on our pensions and services!

“I am a worn-out head teacher of a mixed school of 170 children. I have taught continuously for forty years. My work is now anything but efficient – brightness and energy have utterly vanished and the children suffer. Teaching and managing children is one long nervous strain and the great desire is to get to the week-end … I would retire tomorrow if I could supplement my savings by a retirement pension” .

Those words quoted from the latest Teacher magazine would ring true with many teachers – but they were written 100 years ago! In the century since, we have won the right to retire with a decent pension at 60 – not to mention free comprehensive education and all the other gains won by the trade union movement.
Yet the Tories want to turn the clock back; to take away all we’ve won; to steal away our pensions and public services. We mustn’t let them!

That was the message that I sought to drive home at a well-attended public meeting organised by Southwark Trades Council tonight. I was part of a joint platform of speakers from the UCU, NUT, UNISON and PCS – all preparing together for national strike action on November 30.
As Chris Baugh from the PCS put it, we’re facing the greatest Government deception since they told us there were Weapons of Mass Destruction – it’s just not true that our pensions are unaffordable. Every speaker stressed how we have to get the message out to our members over the next three weeks to answer the lies, to explain and encourage why we need to strike together.

The meeting ended on a confident note. The Government’s pathetic ‘offer’ has revealed the weakness of our adversary. So now is the time to push ahead and come out in our millions on November 30!

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