2011 was a historic year for the labour and trade union movement.
We brought millions to march for the alternative when doubters said we wouldn't, garnered mass support for pension strikes on June 30 when sceptics said we couldn't, and activated two million workers in co-ordinated industrial action on November 30 when some said we shouldn't.
These were the best supported strike days in our union's history. PCS members effectively closed down courts, job centres, passport services, tax offices, driving exams, tribunal services, Edinburgh and Stirling castles and the Scottish government.
Civil servants, local government, health and education workers came together in unity on picket lines, marches and rallies. In the Scottish Parliament, Labour and Green MSPs found their principles between June and November and did not cross our members' picket line.
The SNP, Tories and Liberals, however, sat in a parliament bereft of support staff, while outside the Holyrood fortress Scots lined the streets applauding marching strikers.
Let us remember that what unified the movement was and remains the unjustified attack on pensions which, as every independent audit has shown, are entirely affordable and sustainable.
To work longer and pay more to get a smaller pension is the centrepiece of the attack on all public-sector workers. Not a single penny goes into our pensions - it goes straight into the Treasury to pay for the deficit, while the bankers who caused the crisis continue to play bonus top trumps.
At the end of April civil servants will have the first increased pensions contribution stripped from their salaries on top of pay frozen for two years and increasing costs of living.
The retirement age is rising to 68. The annual review of state retirement age in George Osborne's budget could lead to members working longer and longer into their old age, and the change from the retail price index to the consumer price index means pensions will be worth less long into retirement.
PCS members therefore voted by 90.5 per cent to reject the Westminster government's pensions offer and 72 per cent in favour of an ongoing programme of industrial action. Last week, our national executive committee named the day for our next national strike as May 10.
Danny Alexander revealed the true political agenda of privatisation when he proclaimed: "The new pensions will be substantially more affordable to alternative providers." In Inverness this week, our national leaders and local PCS activists are taking the Hands Off Our Pensions message to Alexander's constituency office and at STUC congress we are seeking to continue to co-ordinate our pensions campaign with other public and private-sector unions.
We continue to campaign in co-ordination with all other unions willing to fight pensions, job cuts and pay freezes. Not to do so lets the government off the hook for the cull of 4,000 Civil Service jobs per month, plans for local market pay, unprecedented cuts to vital services and wide-scale privatisation.
Francis Maude, Michael Gove and their right-wing media lackeys have failed to personalise and demonise our general secretary Mark Serwotka as somehow being out of touch with our members.
The union is recruiting thousands of new members and our membership density is intensifying even as Civil Service jobs are culled. It is not just Serwotka's quiet and truthful eloquence against an increasing flustered Maude on Radio 4 or Newsnight that wins the argument. Our ballot result shows that the PCS leader is bolstered by the strength of resolve of members up and down the country.
PCS does not accept that public-sector cuts are necessary and we will fight for an alternative. We believe in creating jobs and investing in public services and infrastructure to build the economy. And crucially, it is affordable through plugging the annual £120 billion gap of uncollected, avoided and evaded taxation.
It is a great pity that Ed Miliband, elected Labour leader with the support of the affiliated trade unions, declares his support for the cuts and "responsible capitalism." And 90 years after the Red Clydesiders entered the British Parliament with a mission to harass and confront the Tories and Liberals on poverty and unemployment, what are their Scottish successors doing today?
Jim Murphy MP bemoans as "grotesque" civil servant redundancy pay against military personnel cuts.
MoD civilian staff would rather a job over redundancy but it is far from grotesque for a unionised workforce of loyal public servants to have access to a fair redundancy package.
Johann Lamont MSP, the new Scottish Labour leader, supported the November 30 pensions action and we welcome that, but there is a startling silence from the Scottish Labour frontbench on the hardship imposed by a public-sector pay freeze, opposed by all public-sector unions. The SNP government has merely passed down the Tory-led punishment on public-sector workers - not just once but now for a second year until 2013. Where is the official opposition?
Convening in the Usher Hall 40 years ago, the Scottish trade union movement - inspired by the UCS work-in on the Clyde and struggle of Scottish miners - foresaw a "workers' parliament" with the economic powers to defend employment, industry and to strengthen the power of working people across Scotland.
The debate on Scotland's future must not just be about what powers, but also what for. Those who are serious about a fairer, better, more democratic, more socialistic Scotland need to wake up to the economic, industrial and ideological reality that - whatever the constitution - there must be an alternative to the neoliberal assumption that sees lowering corporation tax, freezing wages and cutting jobs as acceptable.
It is time for real radical leaders to step forward from among trade unions, political parties and community campaigns and work together to fight for the economic alternative.
In 2011 mass trade union mobilisation proved wrong those who said we couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't organise.
In building for an alternative to austerity cuts let us not be the generation that didn't provide a better way.
Lynn Henderson is PCS Scottish secretary