A conference in London next Saturday organised by Unite the Resistance aims to forge links between all those fighting back.
Jane Aitchison, PCS president in the Department for Work and Pensions 2004 to 2012, will be speaking at the event. “This Unite the Resistance conference takes place at a critical time,” she told Socialist Worker. “PCS activists like myself will be coming to make strong links with other union activists.
“We need to determine how best to keep the pressure on our union leaderships to conduct the fight we need to win. We must build on the success of 10 May to defend our jobs, our pay and of course our pensions. But more than that we need to radically change the way society is going.
“There was no expense spared to celebrate the jubilee. Jobs could have been created for some unemployed people stewarding the event—but instead unemployed people were exploited. This encapsulates all that is wrong in Tory Britain. We must unite to fight back. This conference will help us organise that fight.”
Ollie Jones is a Unite shop steward from the Ministry of Defence in Donnington. “I’ve been to Unite the Resistance events before,” he said. “The workshops were really useful. We were able to talk to activists in the other civil service unions about what we all should do.
“A lot of people can feel isolated. If we all get together it makes a lot of difference. We’re the ones who need to come up with a strategy that can win.”
Gavin Reid is UCU national executive member and an original signatory to the open letter that launched Unite the Resistance.
“Lots of people are angry, but there’s no point just being angry—we need to organise,” he said.
“The attacks we face are so general they apply to all groups of workers. The Tories want to destroy our lives to pay for a crisis we didn’t create. That’s why we need a broad-based response. Unite the Resistance tries to help develop that.”
Matt Wells is branch organiser for the PCS union in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
He told Socialist Worker, “The conference will provide a space for rank and file activists to discuss how to develop the fight and build links between workplaces. That can help raise confidence.”
Austerity, resistance and the pensions fight
Unite the Resistance national conference
Saturday 23 June, 11am-4.30pm
Bloomsbury Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8EP
- Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
- John McDonnell MP
- Gill George, Unite Health NISC (pc)
- Enric Rodrigo, Madrid Indignados movement
- Themis Orfanakis,
Doctor from occupied hospital in Greece