As members will be aware, Unison’s Service Group Executives have agreed to the pensions ‘Heads of Agreement’. However, 11 trade unions have not agreed with this as the framework for a final settlement of the dispute. They are therefore looking to continue the struggle.
The executive of the NUT, the largest of the teaching unions, and the PCS, by far the largest union in the Civil Service, unanimously agreed on consultative ballots to gauge the views of their teacher and civil service members that would combine both postal and electronic methods. The ballot process would start in just under a fortnight and conclude just prior to Wednesday 14 March.
Depending on the results, the current intention of both the NUT and PCS leaderships would be to call for strike action on Wednesday 28 March. In addition, the executive of the UCU lecturers’ union, which had previously called for a strike at the start of March in opposition to the Government’s continued refusal to make any significant concessions on a range of the attacks impacting on their pension schemes in FE colleges and universities, may also call their members out on that day.
The FBU (firefighters’ union) now appears likely to move towards a strike ballot in the next few weeks, but there is not as yet a firm commitment from its executive to a timetable.
The move in the NUT has obvious significance for our members in schools and it is important that Unison members in schools give what support they can to NUT members in dispute and at the very least do not cover for the work of strikers.