Socialist Worker

Next stage of battle after 30 June strike

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2260

Workers have wasted no time in preparing for the next steps in their battle against the Tories after the magnificent strikes on 30 June.

Some 750,000 workers across four unions—the NUT, PCS, UCU and ATL—struck together on that day against the government’s assault on public sector pensions.

Thousands of council workers struck alongside them.

The strikes had a huge impact and showed the potential to build a campaign to tackle the government.

Sections of workers have already passed a motion calling on their union leaderships to support the call for a one-day strike in the autumn—and to name the date.

Motion

Ken Muller from Islington NUT told Socialist Worker, “Islington NUT committee unanimously passed the motion to name further strike dates.

“We’ve also sent the motion to every school in the borough and to every NUT rep with a covering letter.

“People laughed at the attempts by the government to downplay the success of the strikes on 30 June.

“We know that they were an outstanding success—we need to keep the momentum up.”

Dave Gibson, UCU branch secretary at Barnsley College has also passed the motion.

He told Socialist Worker, “The strikes have boosted people’s confidence. And people know that we’ve got lots of support from other workers and our students—despite what the government tells us.

“We passed the motion because people are up a fight against the Tories and they are realistic about how to beat them. The 30 June was only the start of the battle. It will take bigger, coordinated strikes of millions to finish the Tories off.”

Unison members in London were set to lobby their union’s national executive committee on Wednesday of this week to encourage the union to call a strike date for the autumn.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis last month threatened to call action that would be “the biggest since the 1926 general strike”.

Delegates to Unison’s conference overwhelmingly supported strikes to defend their pensions.

Phoebe Watkins is co-branch chair of Camden Unison. She told Socialist Worker, “When Prentis made his speech about striking, recruitment to the union rocketed.

“If people hear fighting talk, it inspires them to get involved.

“On 30 June a lot of people were asking why we weren’t striking too. Our lobby is to say to Dave Prentis: we like your words about striking and we want you to stick to them.”

Autumn

Representatives from teaching unions, including headteachers’ unions, met last week to discuss the timing of a strike in the autumn.

The national executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union was this week to discuss coordinating wider action across the public and private sectors.

Talks between the unions and the government are ongoing.

But there’s a widespread view that the government isn’t negotiating seriously—and that further strikes will be needed to stop their assault on pensions.

There’s a danger that the government will try to divide the unions.

It could make concessions to some, to try and split them off from a coordinated campaign.

Activists must urgently organise to pass the motion to name the date—and keep up the pressure for united strikes that can smash the Tories.


Our Demands

We need to put pressure on our union leaders and the government, demanding:

  • There is no increase in pensions contributions for any workers
  • There should be no increase in the pension age for workers in the public or private sector
  • Pensions should be based on the higher RPI rate of inflation, not the usually lower CPI
  • Sign the motion, calling for strike dates to be named

Download the motion from http://bit.ly/qJCi6N


Open organising meeting to build for mass protests at Tory and Lib Dem conferences. With Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mark Bergfeld NUS NEC (pc). Monday 18 July, 6pm, Rm V111, Vernon Square Campus, Soas, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW


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Article information

News
Tue 12 Jul 2011, 17:04 BST
Issue No. 2260
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