SWAN activists support campaign for ‘no deal’ on pensions

The 30 November strike was a brilliant show of strength and solidarity by over two million public sector trade unionists determined to challenge the government’s attack on our pensions.

Many of those trade unionists are now shocked and deeply unhappy to hear that the TUC and leaders of some unions such as Unison may be prepared to agree to a deal that falls far short of what is needed on all the main points.

The government’s new deal includes no extra money. They still want public sector workers such as social workers and social care staff to work longer, pay more for their pensions and get less when they retire. It still means a 50% rise in contributions, a retirement age of 68 for those now aged 34 or under, and a cut for all current pensioners as payments are indexed to the CPI instead of RPI inflation measure.

A series of meetings around the country and a conference in London will bring together activists from trade unions including Unison to discuss how to ensure that the new offer is rejected – and how to organise further action to defend our pensions in 2012.

The 30 November strikes showed we have the power to force the government back – let’s use it to win a decent deal on pensions.

The Unite the Resistance campaign is organising the following events:

Lobby the TUC: 2pm, Thursday 12 January, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS

Unite the Resistance emergency national meeting, 12 noon to 4pm, Saturday 14 January, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, central London. Speakers include Mark Serwotka (PCS), John McDonnell MP

More info: http://uniteresist.org/2011/12/emergency-action-on-pensions-lobby-of-tuc-and-national-utr-meeting/

West Midlands SWAN Regional Meeting on 28th January 2012

UNISON Birmingham Branch
19th Floor
McLaren building
48 Priory Queensway
Birmingham B4 7LR

Speakers to include:
Linda Burnip – Disabled People Against the Cuts
Karl Phillips  – Save Charles House Campaign

Plus full regional round up

The meeting will include an election to renew the regional steering Committee

FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL:  swanwestmidlands@gmail.com

SWAN opposes closure of Southampton social work course

Alongside reports that the government could be planning to cut the 2012-13 social work education grant by 18%, it emerged in December that the University of Southampton has launched a consultation on plans to close its remaining social work programmes. The wider context of this is the drive to turn higher education into a full market through massive cuts in state funding and increased tuition fees. In response higher education institutions are likely to withdraw from more expensive programmes to run such as social work and concentrate on cheaper but more profitable courses regardless of the social value and contribution of courses like social work.

A blog has been set up with information about the proposed closure: http://swsresponse.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/closure-proposal/. SWAN urges our supporters to send their messages of opposition to the University of Southampton’s Vice-Chancellor – the email address is vc@soton.ac.uk.

A report from The Guardian newspaper is also available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2012/jan/06/southampton-university-social-work-studies

SWAN will share further information as it becomes available.

Disability activists publish crucial research against welfare reform

Overwhelmingly the report, ‘Responsible Reform’, finds that disabled people do not agree that there is a need for an entirely new benefit (Personal Independence Payments or PIP) –  only 7% of the respondents to the consultation supported the change to PIP fully. It also challenges the Government’s claim that DLA receipt stops sick or disabled people from working.

The report finds the Government’s response to the DLA consultation highly misleading throughout and suggests that it is likely to have broken human rights legislation. Over 450 responses, detailing objections to the proposed changes, were submitted during the consultation period – yet the government did not publish the submissions and went ahead with its plans regardless.

Alongside the publication of the report, disability activists have been running a social media campaign using the twitter hashtag #spartacusreport, in order to promote and spread the challenge to the Government’s welfare reform and accompanying bill. SWAN ( @swansocialwork ) is supporting this campaign.

SWAN would like to draw the attention of all social workers, social care workers, service users, carers, educators and students to the publication of this report. You can download the full #spartacusreport or ‘Responsible Reform’ report here.