Addressing the TUC Congress during the debate on Pensions, Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said this:
“No one can be in any doubt that ordinary working people and families are under a sustained assault as a result of the ideologically-driven programme of the coalition government and their failed economic policy.
“This Tory-led coalition government is also abusing its power.
“The coalition has no electoral mandate, but has a record of abusing its legal authority.
“Time and time again they show a cavalier attitude to the law.
“They should be put in the dock.
“In just 15 months, the Tory-led coalition government has been no stranger to legal challenge.
“When they cut the school building programme – they were taken to court – and lost.
“When they diverted funding from local authorities to bankroll the privatisation of schools – they were taken to court - and conceded defeat.
“And, next month, on pensions – they will be before the courts again.
“The change in pensions indexation from RPI to CPI has wiped billions off the value of pensions.
“This change affects millions of workers.
“Not just public sector workers, but workers in the private sector, too.
“The switch has cut the value of the Pension Protection Fund, cut the value of the state second pension and cut the Basic State Pension.
“The joint legal action taken by the FBU, FDA, GMB, NASUWT, PCS, POA, Prospect, UNISON, and Unite who are challenging this abuse of power.
“Gaining the High Court’s permission for a judicial review was the first major hurdle to be crossed. We have done this successfully. The case will be heard on 25 October.
“Pensions are one of the critically important and numerous battles that the trade union movement will have to fight over coming months.
“The attack on pensions is only one element of the assault on ordinary working people, on the public sector and on the welfare state.
“Be in no doubt - we are in the midst of a perfect storm.
“That is why the NASUWT has committed to ballot its members for industrial action this autumn.
“A perfect storm of assaults on pay, on jobs, on rights at work, as well as on pensions.
“Our campaign must fight for jobs and justice across the board, to protect our members and our communities from all these attacks.
“This is the fight and we must win.”
Notes to editors
The NASUWT has been part of the TUC negotiating team on pensions.
The NASUWT National Executive voted on the 9 September to ballot members on pensions, workload and conditions of service issues during this term.
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