Socialist Worker

30 June: A day to take on the Tories

by Patrick Ward
Issue No. 2253

Pressure is mounting on the government after the PCS civil service workers’ union voted last week to ballot for strikes on 30 June.

The 270,000 PCS members are now set to join education unions and others on a “day of rage” against the Tories.

Only two people voted against the motion at its annual conference, which passed to huge cheers from delegates.

The conference also backed calls for a general strike.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said, “We face a challenge.

“Will we be the generation that fought back, proud to fight for every job, community, worker and condition?

“Let’s get to work to defeat this government’s brutal agenda.”

A number of union leaders were told of further attacks to pensions when they met government ministers last week.

PCS deputy general secretary Hugh Lanning revealed the Tory plans. He said, “All existing pension schemes are to be closed and everyone moved to a new scheme.

The government wants to increase the retirement age—“and 67/68 is under consideration,” he said.

The Tories’ plan to cut accrual rates and switch to using the usually lower CPI rate of inflation will mean a 20 to 50 percent pensions cut, he added.

Strikes on 30 June could just be the beginning.

Broader

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, the largest union in Britain, signed an agreement to work with PCS.

“Unite declares its full solidarity with your action on 30 June,” he told conference.

“We will urge all our members to do whatever they can on that day to express their solidarity and to stand united against the cuts as we build to a still broader action later in the year.”

The action on 30 June seems set to grow too. This week some 5,000 Unison members at Doncaster will start a ballot in time to strike that day.

Jim Board, Unison union branch secretary, said activists were “working really hard to get a positive result”.

“It’s about the principle of defending every job and every service,” he said. “That’s what’s resonating with people.”

Meanwhile, the Tories were forced to backtrack on plans to close Newport’s passport office last week. This will save 180 jobs—although 120 are still under threat.

It also apparently backed down on plans to slash coastguard numbers.

This shows that resistance to the cuts has an impact.

Activists must now campaign in every workplace for the biggest possible vote for strikes. This can be the springboard for resistance to bring down this wretched government.

Unite the Resistance: Build the 30 June strikes. Public meeting with Mark Serwotka, Kevin Courtney and Tony Benn. Wed 22 June, 6.30pm, Friends Meeting House, London, NW1


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