Around 200 trade unionists attended an Organising For Fighting Unions meeting in central London on Wednesday of last week.
The debate centred around the growing revolt against Gordon Brown’s 2 percent pay limit in the public sector, with the news that the CWU postal workers’ union is to resume its campaign of strike action and the Unison union is to ballot its 800,000 members in local government for strikes.
There was a big feeling of the need for united action across the unions.
Brian Caton, the general secretary of the POA prison officers’ union, spoke of how his members’ recent unofficial strike had rocked the government.
Alex Kenny, from the NUT teachers’ union executive, and Sasha Callaghan, the president elect of the UCU lecturers’ union, spoke of the growing demand in their unions for action over pay.
Andy Reid, of the PCS civil service workers’ union, told the meeting of how his union wanted to escalate its campaign against job cuts, low pay and privatisation. It has launched a consultative ballot of over 250,000 members that was set to begin on Friday of this week.
“We are saying to our members that we need to come out again on national strike action,” said Andy. “Hopefully we can organise joint action with other unions over these issues.”
Paul Garraway of the CWU spoke of the postal workers’ continuing fight.
Speakers from the floor highlighted a number of disputes that are happening across the capital, including the fight of Fremantle workers in Barnet, north London, and that against the victimisation of Unison activist Michael Gavan in Newham, east London.