Like many Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidates, I suspect, I was happy to put the election work behind us this week and get back to the main arena for fighting the cuts - the trade union struggle. Today, around 400,000 members of UNITE, UCU, PCS, RMT and NIPSA took action over their pensions and reminded the government that the pensions struggle is far from over. They were joined in an unofficial walkout by POA members, for whom the last Labour government made striking illegal.
Refusing to cross a picket line of my UCU comrades at the College where I work, I joined other Socialist Party members and fellow delegates to the Trades Council, in visiting a number of picket lines. Everywhere we went there was a determined mood to see this fight through no matter what it takes. Most of those on strike today have laready begun to see the effect of increased pension contributions in their pay packets. The other thing common to every picket line, was the desire to see the other public sector unions commit to the fight, in particular my own union, UNISON.
Today was not a day for the half-hearted picket as the Swansea weather seemed determined to throw everything at us - rain, hail, howling winds. The strike rally has to be moved from Castle Square to the Unitarian Church. Nonetheless it was well-attended and everybody was in fighting mood. Visteon pensioners, fighting Ford for the pensions they've had stolen for 3 years now, reminded anybody that might have forgotten that this struggle is about all pensions - public, private and state pensions too.