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SUPPORTING THE LOCAL AUTHORITY WORKERS' STRIKE ON MARCH 28
Members and supporters of the Campaign for a New Workers Party (CNWP) will be joining picket lines on Tuesday to show their full support for local authority workers in their industrial action against any increase in the minimum retirement age. Many thousands of workers have already lost much or all of their pension rights, with the retirement age already raised to 65 for new starters in the NHS, Civil Service and teaching. Now Labour wants to impose this increase on to local government workers.
CNWP Chair and Socialist Councillor Dave Nellist said today, " This attack on pensions is savage. Blair wants us to work until we drop. Despite being the fourth richest country in the world, the Labour Government says it can not afford decent pensions. The truth is that as the economy expands, the rich get richer whilst poverty worsens. Banks make obscene profits while over two million pensioners live below the poverty line and thousands die every winter from hypothermia."
"The Labour Government believes that pensions are too costly, and in the future they want us all to work longer and pay more to get less. The real "pensions gap" is between rich and poor. The rich monopolise more and more of the wealth of society. They get better pensions, and live longer to enjoy them. Over the last 20 years, employer contributions to occupational pension schemes have fallen from about 15% of salary to only 5% today. And governments have let the basic state pension erode so as to ease the tax burden on the well-off and big business.
"The Labour Government, Tories, and Liberal-Democrats all agree on making the majority pay more for pensions, work longer, and get less. They differ only on details here — just as they all support privatisation in education and health."
The Campaign for a New Workers Party congratulates local authority workers for fighting against New Labour’s right wing agenda. Press Officer Pete McLaren added, " One and a half million workers will be on strike for the day, the largest one-day mobilisation since the General Strike 80 years ago. We stand 100% behind this action. We also applaud UNISON’s decision to suspend any election funding and campaigning for the Labour Party whilst the industrial action is going on.”
UNISON have said there will be no further donations or support from the union for Labour whilst the dispute is on. This will specifically affect local and national sponsorship of the Labour Party during the May Council elections.
"We actually think UNISON should go a stage further and join the RMT and FBU in disaffiliating from the Labour Party”, said Mr McLaren. “ Labour is increasingly becoming a Tory Party mark 2. The Campaign for a New Workers Party will be meeting with all Trade Unions to persuade them of the need to help form a new party which responds to the needs and aspirations of workers, rather than attacking them."
The CNWP believes in a universal state pension linked to the higher of prices and earnings with its value restored accordingly.
We argue for an increase in the basic state pension so that it provides a decent level of income for all, free of means-testing, and rising annually in line with average earnings, or prices, whichever is the higher.
We believe business leaders and the wealthy should pay, through increased tax on the highest incomes and a collective tax on business, restoring the employers' contribution to pensions.
We campaign for high finance and the pension funds to be brought under public ownership and democratic control, so that their huge assets can be used to provide a decent life for all instead of privileges for the few.
1 The Campaign for a New Workers Party was launched in London at a Conference attended by 450 socialists on March 19. It already has affiliations from a number of groups on the left, including the Socialist Party, Workers Power and the Socialist Alliance. Officers and a Steering Committee have been elected.
2 The CNWP has already agreed to campaign for a new Party to fill the vacuum to the left of Labour, and that this Party must be democratic, open and inclusive, with a federal approach to bring in as many supportive groups and individuals as possible, with no one group dominating.
For further information contact:
Pete McLaren on 07881 520626
Dave Nellist on 07970 294237