Wednesday, 30 November 2011


"This is not just a campaign to defend public sector pensions. It is a campaign for all pensions: state, private and public sector. It is saying to the Government loud and clear  We will not pay for a crisis caused by bankers' greed and speculation. Hands off our pensions! Hands off our NHS! Hands off our schools! Hands off our Welfare State!" . And with these words Glen Burrows RMT  launched the Somerset March for Pension Justice on it's way from Taunton Cattle Market through the town centre to a rally outside County Hall.
The majority of Schools   across the county were closed , workplaces picketed and many Unions were on strike for the first time ever.
2,000 people took to the streets of Taunton to un precedented levels of support from the public.
Leading the demonstration was the UNISON union of Public sector workers , whose general secretary Dave Prentiss said  "Today you made history. Every single UNISON member supporting the day of action has played their part in this fantastic day. UNISON members - mostly women, many low-paid and many taking strike action for the first time ever - stood up and said, with quiet resolve: enough is enough.

Our members work every day of every year to provide the services our communities rely on. Many work behind the scenes in schools, hospitals, town halls, libraries and a thousand other workplaces unseen by the media and politicians.

But today they made their presence felt and their voices heard throughout the UK.They told politicians that they would not stand by and see their pensions attacked and undermined and they would not be made to pay for the crisis caused by speculators and bankers.

A historic day indeed. A day which must make the government think again and negotiate a fair deal on pensions for our members. "

Prominent amongst the Unions taking part locally was UNITE whose general secretary Len McCluskey said: ”The fight to protect public service pensions is the latest battle that working people and their families have had to mount to protect the social and economic advances that have been achieved since 1945. But now working people are being asked to pay for the economic mess caused by the greedy City elite whose behaviour this spineless government has repeatedly failed to tackle.

”When Francis Maude, the government’s lead pensions’ negotiator, can receive a pension of £43,000-a-year, but nurses, teachers, dinner ladies, fire-fighters and librarians have to pay substantially more, work longer and receive less in real terms when they retire, the mantra of  ‘We are all in this together’ has a very hollow and shabby ring."

 Also in the thick of the fight were the Teachers unions - not just the NUT but the NASUWT as well. Christine Blower General Secretary of the  NUT, the largest teachers union, said: "Today is  an overwhelming rejection of the Government's intention to irreparably damage teachers' pensions. The profession is very clearly united in its defence of pensions, which we believe are fair and affordable. We are pleased that discussions are ongoing with the education department and we are pressing hard for further concessions, but the current offer does not go far enough. "

 PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Every single person on strike today should be proud of themselves and the millionaires in the government should be ashamed of themselves. They said this day would never happen but this is the best day for the trade union movement in generations. The strikers are an inspiration. The message to the government is if you don't negotiate with us we will do this again. They should go into work tomorrow with their heads held high.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said "This dispute was staretd by the coalition government in the expectation that those who work for us all in our public services could be bullied into accepting their diktat. The government lack the moral courage to now settle this dispute for fear of upsetting their right wing backbenchers and those on the lunatic fringe who attack workers rights"   ,

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Wednesday 30th November will see strikers, supporters and families
demonstrating outside public buildings and at rallies all over the South West.
The joint action against government attacks on pensions involves 20 public
sector unions and is supported by the TUC.
The government wants to make people pay more and work longer for lower
Despite unions’ attempts to have proper negotiations, ministers have refused
seriously to negotiate over their changes to public sector pensions.

The issue is simple: most public sector workers are modestly paid.
Their pay has
been frozen while the price of basic goods is shooting up.

Now they are expected to pay an extra £3 billion a year for much worse
by a government that cancelled the tax on bankers’ bonus tax that would have raised almost the same. What clearer illustration of a government by the rich,for the rich?

Bridgwater TUC says "Stand up for decent pensions and tell ministers to start
negotiating. Support the picket lines, vigils, marches and demonstrations on
November 30th."

It’s wrong to make public sector workers pay for an economic disaster they did
nothing to cause. This is everyone’s fight: private and public sector workers,
retired people and workers must unite to fight for decent pensions for all.
Bridgwater Trades Union Council will be giving out information about Pensions Justice in Bridgwater Town Centre, from 11-1, Saturday 26th November

Somerset marchers assemble on November 30th, at 12 noon ,at the Old Cattle Market, Taunton, to march to County Hall for a Rally at 1.30pm