Stormont assembly votes through pension bill as public sector workers take strike action


Thousands of civil service workers in Northern Ireland have been taking part in a 24-hour UK-wide day of strike action today. Members of Nipsa, Unite, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the University and College Union (UCU) are protesting against pension cuts.  Workers have been picketing outside job centres, tax offices, passport offices and other public sector workplaces. Several hundred attended lunchtime rallies in Belfast and Derry.

Speaking after the public rally, Nipsa general secretary Brian Campfield said union members had shown their "determination to protect their hard-fought entitlement to decent pensions".

"Nipsa, in conjunction with other trade unions both public and private sector, is determined to protect the interests of ordinary people against the onslaught from the Coalition government on their pay, terms and conditions, job security and the vicious assault on the welfare state," he said.

"Today, as was the case on May Day Saturday, our members at picket lines had the overwhelming support of the public in fighting the austerity dogma of the coalition government.

The WSM were also present at picket lines in Belfast and Derry and attended the lunchtime rally at Glengall street.  While today’s rally is an indication of the determination to fight on against cuts to pension, one day stoppages must form the basis of a sustained campaign using all means at our disposal including civil-disobedience, and not merely a chance to let off a bit of steam.

We need to remove any lingering illusions in our local politicians because they have clearly laid their colours to the mast in terms of being willing and active implementators of a savage Tory cuts which is about making the rest of us pay for this latest crisis in capitalism.

This was once again exposed this week when our local assembly voted through the pension bill by 77 votes to 13.  Not to mention their bending over backwards to bail out the forthcoming Irish Open in Portrush. Where is the bailout for our health service, were patients are left in trolleys for hours, cuts to jobs and services, growing poverty and homelessness?  Cuts to pensions, privatisation of public services, cuts to housing benefit under the welfare reforms is all part of the same agenda under the Labour Party and now the Tories.

A defeat against cuts to pensions is a victory for all workers.  We need to make sure the political parties and government get the message loud and clear because this must be part of a wider struggle to reclaim our lives, communities and workplaces from the small minority of parasites who live off our labour.

The Workers Solidarity Movement will be holding a public meeting for everyone interested in finding out more about anarchism this Saturday at 1.30pm in the Na Croisbhealaí workers' co-op, 48 King Street, Belfast city centre. Speakers include Alan Mac Simoin from the Irish Anarchist History archives who will give a brief introduction to the history of anarchism before going on to look at its relevance in Ireland today. Speakers from the WSM and Organise! will outline the various struggles that anarchists in Ireland are currently involved in. There will be time after the presentation for your questions and discussion.

A bookstall carrying anarchist, socialist and Irish historical material will be available on the night, turn up early to browse the titles.