Socialist Worker

Huge votes for strikes: the fight is on!

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2256

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers plan to walk out together on 30 June after winning big strike votes.

The workers are fighting a vicious attack on their pensions that would see them pay more in, work longer and get less money.

They’re taking on a government that looks increasingly shaky.

The strike votes are magnificent. In the NUT teachers’ union, some 92 percent backed strikes. In the teachers’ ATL union, 83 percent voted in favour of strikes. The PCS civil service workers’ union also looked set to deliver a resounding vote for action.

Widespread opposition to the Tories’ health reforms already forced them to retreat. The government is weak and divided—and strikes can force it back.

As Paresh Shah, a teacher in Salford, told Socialist Worker, “ I’ve struck before and it makes a huge difference.

“The government has had to backtrack on its NHS reforms. Maybe we can force it to backtrack over pensions.”

Others, including some council workers in Unison and Unite, could join the strikes, along with some private sector workers.

Unite members at Fujitsu are balloting for strikes over job cuts and to defend union activist Alan Jenney.

Alan told Socialist Worker, “All workers face exactly the same problems.

“Public sector unions have supported workers fighting in the private sector—they could see they would be attacked next.”

But 30 June is not only a day for strikers. It’s a day for the entire working class to show their opposition to the government.

Pat Jones, a Unison lead steward in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, told Socialist Worker, “I’ll be supporting strikers on the picket lines. The government is weak—and I don’t think it understands how angry workers are.”


The government and the mainstream media is already panicking. They always tell us workers aren’t powerful, but now they’re worried.

And 30 June is the beginning of the battle. More unions are talking about strikes in the autumn.

Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis warned the government this week, “Be in no doubt this union is on the road to industrial action in the autumn.”

The Tories want to destroy our services. They want the market, and big business, to rule.

But they are making a big mistake. Margaret Thatcher took on one group of workers at a time. Today, the Tories are taking us all on at once. United we can beat them.

Who will be on strike and why?

The NUT, ATL and UCU unions and the PCS civil service workers’ union have balloted for strikes over pensions.

UCU members in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme plan to strike on 30 June.

The PCS ballot ends on Wednesday of this week.

The Tories’ reforms would force workers to pay more, retire later, and get a lower pension.

Council workers in Doncaster, Birmingham and Southampton could also strike on 30 June. Workers at Fujitsu could also strike on 30 June.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.