Who’s briefing Francis Maude?
In an interesting post at the activist Left Futures site, Andy Newman points out the differences between Dave Prentis and Mark Serwotka aren’t just political (Prentis is a Tankie rather than a Trot – in the Times on Saturday (paywall), given the slam-dunk choice of “Fidel Castro or Barack Obama?”, he went for Castro. Excellent PR, Dave).
The big difference is that the Local Government Pension Scheme is a series of actual funds, whereas other public sector schemes are ultimately transfers within the national accounts. So there’s an argument for treating the LGPS differently from the rest, particularly in terms of contributions. Hence UNISON’s belief that the government are now in a proper negotiation (plus they’re the other side of their Conference, so can wind down the rhetoric a bit).
The body language as Brendan Barber and TUC colleagues emerged from talks yesterday was telling. Mark Serwotka was out of the main shot, but you could see him manoeuvring towards the cameras to make what was essentially a breakaway statement of No Surrender (how the ATL’s Mary Bousted ended up providing moderate cover for her insurrectionary partners on Thursday I really have no idea).
But what on earth is the government playing at – suddenly waking up to this?
Helpful checklist for Francis Maude for future negotiating meetings: pen, notepad, Blackberry on silent, water, the facts.Tagged in: Dave Prentis, francis maude, pensions, tankies
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