A few days later, Tony Patey reported uncritically that Unison voted to accept pension deal (M Star August 25). He should have searched for and quoted union members who were strongly opposed to the deal. Are we fighting this government or not?
Unison has done a U-turn since last year's calls to defend our pensions and fight with our lives. Why did Unison allow itself to be diverted to sit at the table with the government and waste valuable time in "tough" negotiations.
The first six months of this year could have been spent campaigning with other union colleagues in education, the Civil Service and the health services to convince union members and the wider public of the need to defend, restore and extend public services - that there is an alternative.
In the City of Sheffield branch, an organised group of members circulated a leaflet putting forward arguments against the proposed pension deal.
In summary these were:
1. There is no reason to alter the local government pension scheme (LGPS). Reserves of £4 billion are built up each year.
2. The deal splits up the membership into different groups, making it difficult for all workers to find common ground and facilitating future attacks on smaller groups of workers.
3. The LGPS is linked to the rising state pension age. Lower paid workers who "might" have to pay less also might be sick, disabled or dead before they reach retirement.
4. The deal on LGPS is linked to the Consumer Price Index, which excludes housing costs and which form a shocking and increasing proportion of everyone's wages.
In Sheffield, several officers in our branch feel that the deal has sold workers down the river. We have to use all means possible to demonstrate the alternative.