Socialist Worker

Workers get ready for 30 June battle

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2255

Hundreds of thousands of workers are preparing to turn Thursday 30 June into a major day of resistance against the Tories.

More than half a million public sector workers are set to strike on that day to defend their pensions.

The Tories want workers to pay more, work longer—and get less at the end of it.

The NUT and ATL teaching unions are balloting their members for strikes, along with the PCS civil service workers’ union.

UCU union members in the TPS pension scheme have already balloted and plan to join the strike on 30 June too.

Activists are pushing hard to win the ballots, and they are already making plans for what to do on the day.

In Cambridge, trade unionists are planning a stunt where “cuts advisors” will advise people on the total amount they stand to lose from the cuts.

They also plan to hold a pre-strike rally to bring workers and campaign groups together. Paula Champion, an NUT rep at a Cambridge primary school, says the ballot is transforming schools.

“I’ve spoken at lots of school meetings,” she said. “In many places it’s the first time people have got together since our strikes over pay in 2008.

“The ballot is starting to give the NUT an identity in schools where there isn’t a tradition of regular union organisation. It gives people a model to use to fight all the Tory cuts, not just over pensions.”

The NASUWT teaching union is not balloting its members to join the strike. But many members want to fight—and are joining the NUT so they can be part of it.

The ballots are raising debates. “Some teachers think there do have to be some cuts,” said Paula. “And there is some nervousness about being shot down in the press, and about whether we can win or not.

“But the attacks will take thousands of pounds from our pensions and the mood is clear—people want to strike.”

Members of the PCS union are balloting over pay, job cuts and defending public services—as well as pensions. There is a mood to resist the Tory onslaught against vital public services.

“People at my Department for Work and Pensions call centre are dismayed at its planned closure,” said Dave Owens, a PCS member in Liverpool. “But they are prepared for a fight to defend it, and over other issues.”

Unions are still negotiating with the government over pensions. But few hold out hope that the talks will change the plans.

Solidarity in action

Everyone can play a role in fighting the Tories, even if they’re not set to strike on 30 June.

Paul Vernell, an NUT rep in South Gloucestershire visited a Unison union workplace meeting with an emergency duty team of social workers who work for the local council.

Huw Williams, a Unison rep who helped to set up the meeting told Socialist Worker, “The meeting was just brilliant.

“It’s not only great for the teachers and other strikers but helps to have a discussion about how to resist in all workplaces.

“We drew up a list of local picket lines to visit, and agreed to sign cards of solidarity and take them to picket lines with collections.

“People are angry that there is little action from our union.

“So we’ve decided to write a letter to Dave Prentis, our general secretary, stating that we need to be part of coordinated action too.”

Unite the Resistance rally, with Mark Serwotka, Tony Benn, Kevin Courtney, Wednesday 22 June 6.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ

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Article information

Tue 7 Jun 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2255
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