I just happened to come across the ‘breaking news’ announcement that the various collected bodies, in the form of the TUC and the BIU, with the exception of the Police Association, have just accepted the Premier’s proposal of wage cuts plus suspension of pension contributions.
The article itself is confusing. It says that they have accepted the proposals, but that each member union (of the TUC and the BIU) have their ‘caveats’. It also follows on from previous reports last week that the unions were unhappy with the proposal, especially the issue of pensions, and were preparing a counter-proposal to the Government.
I find it quite farcical at the moment.
That the various unions have failed to develop a unified response (as illustrated by each member union having it’s caveats) just makes them appear completely incompetent and belies the notion of ‘united we stand’ – which the continuing refusal of the BIU to join the TUC formally just underlines. Furthermore, that the combined unions, in an environment where they were in a position to negotiate a counter-proposal, would appear to have capitulated just makes one wonder what they were thinking. And how they could possibly accept this idea of a pension suspension, which will have numerous negative ramifications, is bewildering to me.
The unions had an opportunity here to articulate an alternative vision to that of the Government. They could have really steered a novel path, pushed new ideas and forms of workers organisation, but instead have rather sheepishly handed the power right back to Government and at the same time weakened themselves organisationally, politically and, as regards the pensions, economically.
Of course, I don’t know what the caveats are. But that they seem to have completely accepted the pension suspension AND failed to develop a unified response or faintest idea of a counter-proposal is pretty poor. I expect many of their membership will be happy with this state of affairs.
I hope they are able to give a better explanation for their actions shortly…