The battle over cuts heats up

Today the media is showing pictures of the brand new cabinet’s first meeting. Top of the agenda is how to deal with the crippling national debt, and all the parties believe that spending cuts should do most of the work in any fiscal adjustment.

The trade unions are also getting ready for the battle over cuts. That will be at the top of the agenda at the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) conference in Brighton next week; the first UK union conference after the formation of the new government.

The union is riding high after the ruling from the High Court on Monday, which ruled the previous government acted unlawfully when it introduced a new redundancy scheme. That means that the new government will have to start again in negotiations with the unions to deal with the expensive pay and redundancy benefits enjoyed by the civil service. And with the unions set on defending the current generous settlement for the public sector the negotiations will be tough.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We will be calling for the public sector unions to unite against what we fear will be devastating cuts in public spending”

The unions’ action is preventing governments having the flexibility to rein in national debt, something which is absolutely necessary. The changes to the redundancy scheme are aimed at saving £500 million over three years and these types of savings are needed if Britain is serious about solving its dire financial situation.  Let’s hope a coalition government is strong enough to take on the unions and take the necessary action to deal with the national debt.    

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