Socialist Worker

It’s on! Trade unions build for mass walkout on 28 March

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2290

Workers and their supporters on the march in Oxford during the 30 November strike  (Pic: Julie Simmons)

Workers and their supporters on the march in Oxford during the 30 November strike (Pic: Julie Simmons)

Unions have proposed a new date for their joint strike over pensions.

Wednesday 28 March has now been backed by the PCS, NUT and UCU unions.

The announcement breaks the logjam on the pensions dispute that has held since the 30 November strike of 2.6 million public sector workers last year.

It will be welcome news for thousands of rank and file activists in trade unions who can now start building for the strike in their workplaces.

All three unions are holding consultations with their members to sound out the mood for more action over pensions.

PCS and NUT members will be able to vote by post and electronically on whether they support the further strike day. UCU will carry out a “campaigning survey” of its members.

A strike by these three unions alone would involve well over half a million workers.

But others could join them, including the Scottish teachers’ union EIS, the firefighters’ FBU union and sections of Unite.

Activists in the PCS, NUT and UCU are now pushing to make sure the consultations deliver the strongest possible yes to more strikes.

Andy Reid, from the national executive of the PCS, said, “We need to get this out and about. We need the biggest vote supporting action we can get.

“It will reinvigorate and strengthen our campaign. This can form the basis for further unions joining us in the action.”


Nick Grant from the NUT’s national executive said, “We have to fight the pensions robbery and we believe NUT members will do so.

“We are aiming to galvanise all classroom teachers behind us in unity with every other willing public sector union.”

Mark Campbell, the left candidate in the election for the general secretary of the UCU said, “It’s fantastic that united union action is finally back on the cards in defence of our pensions.”

The union consultations are important for two reasons.

A strong yes will boost the case for further action over pensions and weaken those who want union leaders to accept government cuts.

And campaigning in workplaces for a yes vote will help build rank and file union organisation for the strike day itself and beyond.

Trade unionists are quoted in a personal capacity

How to plan for action

  • Make sure everyone in your workplace knows about 28 March
  • Call branch meetings and organise leafletting sessions to promote the strike
  • Fight for the largest possible yes vote in the consultations
  • Link up with fellow activists from the 30 June and 30 November strikes
  • Call joint union meetings in your workplace and town

Unite the Resistance meetings



7pm, Wednesday 29 February
With Liz Lawrence (UCU), Marian Loyd (PCS), Martin Mayer (Unite), Ben Morris (NUT)
Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield, S1 2EW


7pm, Wednesday 29 February
With Mark Serwotka (PCS), Karen Reissmann (Unison, pc), Maria Pentaraki (UCU), NUT speaker
Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, M1 6DD

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