Sunday, 27 May 2012
THE KUWG JOINED A PCS PICKET ON THE 10 MAY DAY OF STRIKES
On May 10, 2012, the KUWG organised a joint picket of solidarity with the PCS union outside the JobCentre, Cambridge Avenue, NW6. As the reader will know, the PCS (Civil Service Union) went on strike on that day to Stop The Great Pension Robbery and demand Fair Pensions for All.
As you know, 100,000 public service workers are going to lose their jobs in the summer. Will these people have suddenly become ‘lazy’ and ‘scroungers’? Or will they be sacked so that the State can lend more to the banks that speculate, pocketing the benefits and leaving the losses to the taxpayer?
The PCS stood outside the JobCentre from 7.45am to 10am with the KUWG in an official picket. The picket was joined by representatives of the Crossroad Women and BrentFightBack, as well as some SWP comrades. A big support was given by members of the public and persons who had read our leaflet.
The following Unions were on official strike: PCS, Unite, UCU, RMT, NIPSA and ISU. Note that the RMT was present this time. The workers from those unions object to pension age rising to 68 for both men and women - the highest in Europe. The government coalition’s budget includes plans for the pension age to rise to 71 in a few years, and then to 74.
Like the Welfare Budget, the people’s pensions are being handed over to private corporations that want greater premiums, more contributory years and reduced pensions to be paid out, hopefully, to less and less survivors. On May 10 this year, there was at least half a million on strike. Unite members in the health service, UCU members in Further Education and 92 universities joined PCS members in this latest struggle over pensions. There were fewer strikers than on 30 November 2011, but there were new and very important sectors on strike, indicative of the deepening crisis of the capitalist system. Prison officers in the POA who had come from England and Wales were on strike this time; not only was their strike national and unofficial, it also defied the anti-TradeUnion laws. Add to this that 20,000 off-duty policemen demonstrated in the streets. They marched separately, but chose the day and the hour of the workers’ strikes to express their anger at their own cuts and police privatisations. The leaflet distributed by the KUWG called for unity between the private and the public sectors, as well as between the waged workers and the unwaged. It also made demands from the Cambridge Avenue JobCentre itself, where people (who often do not have the bus fare) should not have to come before 9am, and where giros should be payable and cashable. We call on the PCS Union to question nationally the DWP ESA Medicals that declare very ill persons ‘fit for work’, thereby sending unfit people to seek work through the JobCentres. We call on the PCS Union to coordinate with the BMA a campaign in defence of the primacy of medical care and expertise, over and above administrative and financial decisions taken by the privateers who are taking over Welfare in Britain. This is a continuing struggle - next instalment in June! Please find below the two page leaflet the KUWG used for this day of Strikes.