Left wins in fire union

A grassroots activist, socialist and outspoken critic of the current FBU leadership has been elected General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, defeating incumbent Andy Gilchrist. Matt Wrack beat Gilchrist by 12,833 votes to 7,259, in a poll which saw 40% of the union’s membership voting, a high turn-out for a union election.

Tax the rich to pay for pensions!

By Martin Thomas

On 23 March, and maybe on 26 April, public sector workers will be striking against the New Labour government’s move to “level down” their pensions nearer to the misery already enforced in the private sector. The civil servants’ union PCS and local government members of the public service union Unison and other unions have all returned ballot majorities for a strike on 23 March. The teachers’ union NUT is balloting for a strike on 26 April, and has approached other education unions to join it on that day.

What is at stake, sector by sector

By kate Ahrens

In local government, Unison, TGWU, Amicus and UCATT are taking action on 23 March following votes for strike ranging from 70% to 83%. Alongside them will be the civil service union PCS, and even the small senior civil service union FDA, who had not had a strike ballot in 20 years but have voted to take action now. NIPSA, the Northern Ireland public services union, is also taking action.