Socialist Worker

Sunday 3 October: take the battle to the Tories

by Paul Brandon, national chair, Right to Work campaign and Unite rep at Holloway bus garage
Issue No. 2220

Paul Brandon

Paul Brandon


The Right to Work campaign has always stood on the side of those who fight to resist job losses, wage freezes and cuts in public services.

We’ve been a loud, but too often lone voice. To see the TUC battalion now riding over the hill calling for widespread resistance to the Tory assault is a welcome development.

Now is the time for action. The Right to Work demonstration at the Tory party conference in Birmingham is the moment when the words of resistance take to the streets.

The march is supported by the CWU, NUJ, Aslef, UCU and PCS unions as well as the NUS and the Labour Representation Committee. Many local union branches and campaigns have also backed the protest.

There is no better place than Birmingham for the first national demo against Cameron. The Tory-led council has just threatened 26,000 council workers with the sack unless they sign new contracts (see Birmingham prepares to defy council job threats).

It’s a trend set to continue, as 5,500 London firefighters are currently facing the same attack (see The ballot is on to save fire jobs). Unless resistance starts now, all workers are vulnerable to the same approach.

Assault

Those same Birmingham Tory councillors are now trying to prevent us from marching past the venue of the Tory party conference on 3 October.

Inside the conference, David Cameron will be trying to justify the biggest assault to the welfare state and our public services since 1945.

Yet disgracefully it looks likely that those who will bear the brunt of the attacks will not be allowed to voice their opposition on the Tory toff’s doorstep.

This attack on our civil liberties should come as no real surprise. It’s the inevitable outcome of this coalition government’s rise to power. Its very nature is fundamentally undemocratic.

Up to the day of the election the Lib Dems said they wanted delays in cuts, but then ditched this policy for power.

The Tories made no mention of 25 to 40 percent cuts until they were in government. And their cobbled-together “coalition agreement” has never been mandated by the people.

The coalition is sustained through the peddling of myths, like the “need” to reduce the deficit. The country was able to build the NHS and comprehensive education while carrying a burden of debt following the Second World War—which was greater than now.

This assault amounts to a coup d’état in front of our very eyes—as cover to push through “their” vision of society.

There is only one place to be on the 3 October: fightback Birmingham.

The Right to Work campaign will seek to give a radical edge to the campaign of resistance against the government—and will not stop until it has been brought down.

The real work then starts to ensure that a new era of democracy in the workplace emerges from the ashes.


Building the protest

Activists across Britain are working flat out to build the protest. The Cambridge coach is full and activists are organising a second.

In Manchester, activists have visited over 80 workplaces and plan to hit 150 before the demo, dropping off leaflets and posters and selling coach tickets.

Sheffield Right to Work have sold tickets for 90 coach seats and are booking a third coach.

And in Bristol the NUT and Unite health branch unions have put on a coach on top of two already booked.

In south London, after a 100-strong anti-cuts meeting, three different disability groups contacted Right to Work to block-book coach tickets.

The two coaches booked from Glasgow are full, and Glasgow City Unison and Unite branches have organised an additional coach.


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