Or: How even a Trade Union leader can get a knighthood under the Tories.
Just to prove that they’re fair, our ConDem government has knighted a Trade Union leader. For looking after the needs of Trade Union members? Well, you judge:
Brendan Barber, former General Secretary of the TUC, is now Sir Brendan Barber. His lifetime of “services to employment relations” has been rewarded. As an ordinary Trade Union member, I was hard-pushed to know exactly what services these were.
How do you sum up the last month or so? It’s been crazy to say the least! Where to start?
After over 39 years in my job, I decided to take retirement, 8 months short of my retirement date. This was not an overnight decision, but one that I had been thinking about for a while. I’ll be a free man come October. Obviously going early means that, instead of 8 months’ wages, I get 8 months’ pension, which is at a reduced rate (for life) because I took it early, but I can honestly say that I value my sanity above financial matters. And I think I’ll be OK.
Remember the defeat of John Major’s Tories, and smiley Tony Blair PM (an anagram for I’m Tory Plan B, too true as it turned out) and dancing John Prescott? Somehow, what followed will always taint my view of that song. After my last blog, the final insult took place! But since then things have picked up, with a couple of surprises that I was not expecting.
I’ve just experienced 5 days that started 35 years ago! I know it doesn’t make sense, the long explanation is here!
The short explanation is that I joined the old CPSA Broad Left when it became an open organisation back in 1977, and the hard work done by me and others has made it possible to get the PCS Union to where it is today.
Tomorrow morning, Saturday, me and my Collibosher bandmates are up at the crack of dawn (well, for a weekend!) and a practice session, then midday on Sunday it will be down to Brighton for PCS Conference.
I’m looking forward to a good week, I think that PCS has much to be proud of, but the struggle continues uphill in the absence of other unions who sold the Pensions Heads-of-Agreement to their members. Some will take the opportunity to attack the leadership of PCS, but both in the DWP and Nationally, the Left Unity candidates have been returned with almost a clean sweep (only one NEC candidate missing out). Some people do need to get a handle on reality – look at what’s going on in the country and the unions generally, and put the performance of PCS into perspective. Until we get Harry Potter on our NEC, I’m not expecting magic!
I was interviewed on the picket line at Barking this morning. Here is the clip.
One thing about life these days, there always seems to be something happening.
Tomorrow I’m on strike, part of my union PCS. We are protesting about the attack on our pensions, but don’t think for a moment that we are spurred purely by self-interest. People in this country seem, on the whole, totally demoralised. We’re sitting back and letting our government raise the pension age to 68 for both men and women. Living longer? Not for long, with what they’re doing to the NHS.
If you are a PCS Member in DWP, by now you should have received your ballot papers for the DWP Group Executive Committee elections. If you want a union that continues to lead the fight on your behalf, then you must vote Left Unity. Here are the candidates to vote for:
Have you voted yet in the National Executive Committee elections? If not, the Left Unity candidates are listed here.
Yesterday I went to see my girlfriend. We had a great day. Before I left, she told me something that may have a bearing on why she is so lacking in confidence. I’m not going to share it here, suffice to say that couples argue, and in doing so say things they don’t mean to hurt each other. Some of those things may have a greater, longer term effect. If you meet someone at my age, they always have a past, and you never know what that past may have done to them. Overall, it was a day that made me feel that our decision to get back together again was the right one. It was lovely.