Socialist Worker

Workers gear up for epic day of strikes

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2279

The joint pensions strike on 30 June was a foretaste of what we can expect on 30 November  (Pic: Smallman )

The joint pensions strike on 30 June was a foretaste of what we can expect on 30 November (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers in 27 trade unions are set to strike together on 30 November. It will be Britain’s biggest strike since 1926.

And it will deal a huge blow to government plans to slash public sector pensions.

Some three million workers will walk out on the day. They include nurses, teachers, benefits advisers, physiotherapists, administration staff, cleaners, receptionists, classroom assistants, doctors and gravediggers.

Millions more will support them. Students are organising to tour picket lines, hold teach-outs and set up feeder marches to strike rallies.

Pensioners, parents and anti-cuts activists will be joining events on the day.

And some workers in unions that aren’t striking—such as postal workers in the CWU—say they will refuse to cross picket lines.

The government has reacted by threatening workers with even harsher anti-union laws. Tory minister Francis Maude has floated the idea of banning strikes whose ballot turnouts are less than 50 percent.

This is a bit rich coming from a party that only persuaded 22 percent of those with the right to vote to back it in last year’s general election.

It’s nothing more than a desperate attempt to undermine the tremendous votes for strikes that workers have delivered.

Another six unions won strike votes with huge majorities over the past week. Teachers in NASUWT backed strikes by 82 percent. INTO, a teachers’ union in Northern Ireland, voted by 87 percent for strikes.

Napo members backed strikes by 83 percent, Unite members by 75 percent, GMB members by 84 percent and POA members by 75 percent.


These results underline the determination of workers to fight back. They make a mockery of government claims that there’s no widespread backing for 30 November.

Maude has also threatened to withdraw his latest offer on

public sector pensions if the strikes go ahead. But his “offer” is an insult to working people.

It would force millions to work longer, pay more in pension contributions and get less when they retire.

There are just days to go until 30 November—and workers are determined to use every single one to get the biggest turnout on the day.

What 30 November looks like, and how many are actively involved, will be the crucial factor in shaping what happens next in the fight against cuts.

One strike day won’t be enough to stop the attacks. Unions will need to call more coordinated strikes to pile the pressure on the Tories.

But 30 November can mark a turning point in class struggle in Britain. It can start to turn the tide against the government—and it can give confidence to all workers to start fighting back.

For detailed ballot results go to

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Article information

Tue 22 Nov 2011, 18:25 GMT
Issue No. 2279
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