Full text of the motion on pensions overwhelmingly carried at extraordinary branch meeting with two abstentions and no votes against.
This branch meeting notes:
1. With anger, the Coalition government’s very serious assault on the local government and other public sector pension schemes, including dramatically increased employee contributions, a rising retirement age and abolition of ‘Fair Deal’ protection for outsourced workers.
2. With approval, the decision of UNISON’s national leadership to ballot more than 1.1 million members across the local government, NHS and civil service pension schemes following the Government’s refusal to make any meaningful concessions during seven months of fruitless talks
3. The encouraging prospect of united strike action involving more than 3 million workers covered by public sector pension schemes on 30 November.
This branch meeting believes:
1. The pensions dispute is of fundamental importance in its own right and could well determine the fate of the Government’s more general offensive against the public sector workforce and social welfare provision
2. Any negotiated settlement to the current dispute must ensure the following:
· No further increases in employee contribution rates
· No rise in the standard retirement age
· The restoration of the link between the Retail Price Index and the annual uprating of pension payments
· The safeguarding of current levels of pension payout, and
· Restoration in full of ‘Fair Deal’ protection for workers on outsourced contracts.
3. Any proposed settlement of the dispute should be subject to the widest possible democratic debate and that no service group within UNISON should withdraw from action until there is an acceptable framework agreement covering all of the public sector pension schemes.
This branch meeting resolves to:
1. Campaign for the largest possible ‘yes’ vote in the ballot opening on 11 October and closing on 03 November through leafleting of workplaces, face-to-face conversations, workplace and lunch-time meetings, and use of social media
2. Recruit a substantial number of new members on the basis of the pensions issue, not least because membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme is significantly higher than union membership among Camden employees
3. Work closely with sister unions, particularly the NUT and GMB, as well as the FBU and PCS in building for industrial action on Wednesday 30 November
4. Empower the UNISON branch committee to act as a local strike committee in the first instance
5. Use the local press and the new branch website (http://camdenunison.org.uk) to advance our case to the workforce and the wider public
6. Endorse the 19 September branch committee decision to call for a special conference of UNISON’s local government service group to enable a discussion of tactics and strategy in the dispute, and scrutiny of any potential basis for settlement.
Proposed by: George Binette, Branch Secretary.