Who’s briefing Francis Maude?

James Undy

105442105 300x251 Whos 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.

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  • PCSInsider

    James raises a relevant question after Mr Maude was decimated by Evan Davies and Mark Serwotka this morning on Today programme. Or is that there are no good answers on the affordability question once the Hutton fig leaf is removed?

    Perhaps James should get a job back in the Cabinet Office.

  • John Ferrett

    Yes Maude was all at sea this morning when trying to defend what Cameron had said about affordability – the PM’s Daily Mail approach to communicating on this issue has clearly back-fired. However, on the subject of why strikes are taking place in the middle of negotiations, you would have thought the PCS and Mark Serwotka would be similarly discomforted. That is until you appreciate that the strikes, and not a negotiated settlement, are an end in themselves.   

  • PCSInsider

    Gosh JF. Next you will be telling me that the ATL are some militant union. The real question is why Prospect aren’t joining the action. Appreciate this is difficult for you as you are on Prospect payroll. I hadn’t appreciated that it was a part of your duties to criticise the democratic decisions of another union publically on Prospect member’s time!

    Our PCS action is also over jobs and cuts. Offices are closing. Our members are bteing made redundant now.

    As to the talks, Danny Alexander gave the game away. He said last week “we’re happy to talk, but we will raise the pension age, increase contributions, lower accrual rates and we’be already imposed reduced indexation through CPI”. What exactly is left to negotiate if that’s the line?

    The settlement reached with Labour remains not only fair and reasonable but affordable and sustainable as well.

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