Socialist Worker

‘We need to go out for as long as it takes’

Issue No. 2274

Workers at Greenford High School on strike on 30 June (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Workers at Greenford High School on strike on 30 June (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Unions came together for a joint meeting at Greenford High School in west London last week.

It was a meeting of around 60 members, much like hundreds that are happening this week.

But it brought together the resistance. All the teaching unions were there, as well as Unison and the GMB, with firefighters, a civil service worker and a nurse as guest speakers.

“It’s really good that this is a joint meeting for teaching and support staff,” said Mary, the Unison rep.

“It’s so rare for us all to be fighting together.”

Dean from the GMB added, “It’s the first time that all the unions nationally are taking action.

“To use the coalition’s line, ‘We’re all in this together’. We certainly are—we’re all fighting together.”

Reps from the teachers’ unions talked about the scale of the attack.

“The pensions changes will mean paying 50 percent more of your salary into the pension,” said Fabienne from the ATL union.

“A strike is a loss of one day of your salary, but if the pension changes happen you’ll lose a day’s pay every month.”

NASUWT union organiser Ray said that some people argued that workers should wait for the next general election.

“But there’ll be nothing there by then,” he said. “There’s no one coming to our rescue.

“The punchline is: we either hang together on this, or we’re going to hang separately.”

Mark, a student nurse, said the battle is “about the government’s whole austerity programme”.

He was applauded when he said, “I think we need to go out for as long as it takes to stop this government.”

Niaz, a PCS civil service worker, added, “What we need to do is bring down this government.”

FBU firefighters’ rep Dave also spoke.

He said, “In my borough, there are over 200 firefighters and we’ve got a unanimous decision from every one that we’ll go out the doors.

“Spread the word and we’ll go out together.

“If the whole country comes to a standstill, what are they going to do?

“They can’t beat everyone.”

Stefan from the NUT closed the meeting.

He said, “I wanted all the speakers here, to show that when we come out on strike on 30 November, we are not coming out on our own.

“The government thinks it can take us all on at the same time.

“I’m not asking you to fight so we can go down in glory.

“I’m asking you to fight because I think we can win.”

Decent pensions for all

Seven education unions are preparing for a mass lobby of parliament on Wednesday 26 October to protest at the government’s attacks on public sector pensions.

The ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NASUWT, NUT, UCAC and UCU unions called the lobby.

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