Socialist Worker

Right to Work networks can unite the resistance

The Right to Work conference on 22 May is a focus for all those who want to fight the cuts now and after the election

Issue No. 2198

Whichever party finds itself in power after the election, it will try to force through massive cuts to jobs and public services.

More than 500,000 public service jobs could go in the next five years, one bosses’ lobby group has warned. None of the parties will admit that they all plan to cut up to 10 percent of the public sector workforce, according to a CIPD study.

Across the country, activists are building up networks of resistance around the Right to Work campaign—to raise solidarity for today’s struggles and lay the groundwork for those to come.


Edinburgh

Right to Work has established a broad committee and is putting down local roots. It has been building networks of solidarity on picket lines.

Right to Work activist Pete Ramand said, “The main disputes we’ve been intervening around are the Edinburgh bins and the RMT strikes at Scotrail.

“We started a weekly picket of a scab refuse centre. We’ve kept it up, and a few weeks ago we managed to get 80 people there, including members of Unison, PCS, RMT, Unite and more.”

Paul French, a Unite union rep in a refuse depot who was recently sacked for his trade union activity, has joined the campaign.

“We’re raising support to defend Paul,” says Pete. “And we’ve also gone with Edinburgh bin workers to the RMT’s picket lines.”

The regional RMT has voted to put a rep on the local Right to Work committee in an official capacity.

More than 50 people came to a public meeting for the campaign, where FBU and RMT organisers spoke, as well as the president of Edinburgh students’ union.


Norwich

Nick O’Brien told Socialist Worker, “We’ve already held three meetings, and we’ve got a planning group together.”

The campaign plans to protest outside banks in Norwich town centre on Monday 3 May. Activists will be placed in the stocks dressed up as bankers, and invite people to throw sponges at them.

Nick says, “We’re going to give out ‘banknotes’ with a fat cat instead of the queen on the front and key questions for election candidates on the back—things like, ‘Who do you want to pay for the crisis?’. It’s a bit of fun. Hopefully it’ll get some local media coverage.”


Bristol

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack will address a Right to Work public meeting on Thursday.

There will also be speakers from the CWU and Unite unions, as well as local campaigners.

Local Right to Work activist and FBU rep Jaz Thomas said, “We leafleted for the meeting on coaches to the defend the welfare state protest in London.

“In my union the brigade secretary has sent out publicity to all the local fire stations, and other unions have been sending it round as well.”

On Saturday, the campaign will join a local protest against cuts to Esol English language education for migrants.

Bristol Right to Work public meeting, Thursday 22 April, 7.30pm, Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street


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Tue 20 Apr 2010, 18:02 BST
Issue No. 2198
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