Socialist Worker

Anti-cuts activists unite in Scotland

Report from Scottish Right to Work conference plus round up of other initiatives

Issue No. 2228

Delegates from many trade unions joined with anti-cuts activists at last week

Delegates from many trade unions joined with anti-cuts activists at last week's Scottish Right to Work conference (Pic: Duncan Brown)


The Right to Work campaign is growing roots across Britain.

Last week the campaign’s inaugural Scotland conference brought together more than 200 trade union and community activists, students, MPs and MSPs.

Dave Moxham, assistant general secretary of the Scottish TUC, spoke in the opening plenary about the need for industrial action.

He applauded the student protest on Wednesday of last week—and said that the Scottish trade union movement hoped to bring tens of thousands of people to London on 26 March for the TUC anti-cuts protest.

Speakers emphasised the importance of building a united movement that includes community and disability groups.

Workshops were introduced by speakers from every section of the movement.Topics ranged from how we build fighting unions, defending the welfare state, the struggle for free education and challenging immigration myths and racism.

A Scottish Right to Work steering committee was elected, and a motion which included calls for protests at the private ­organisations profiting from the Tories’ welfare-to-work schemes and pledging to build for the TUC demonstration next March was unanimously adopted.

Mary Senior from the UCU and Jim Malone of the FBU spoke in the closing rally alongside Labour MP Katy Clark, stressing the need to continue struggle to defend our services.

Julien Sergère of the French CGT brought the conference to its feet with his inspiring account of the recent struggles of French workers against Sarkozy.

lAround 120 people gathered at a Right to Work meeting in Birmingham last week. They adopted a statement which included a celebration of last week’s student demonstration in London.

It notes that: “Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended.

“It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration to many workers and students in Britain.”

A large delegation came from new group Disabled People Against Cuts.

People at the meeting said that it is vital to build on the fantastic protests in Birmingham, including its hosting of the 7,000-strong Right to Work demonstration against the Tory Party conference.

lFrench striker Julien Sergère also spoke at a Right to Work meeting in Manchester.

One bus driver who attended the meeting said it “fired him up”, while a local government worker called it “inspirational”.

Thanks to Iain Ferguson, Geoff Brown and Geoff Dexter for reports


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Tue 16 Nov 2010, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2228
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