The TUC’s annual congress begins on Sunday of this week. It will be dominated by speeches about fighting Tory cuts.
Many union leaders have pledged to launch sustained campaigns against government attacks this autumn. Teachers have been balloting for strikes. Leaders of the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions say they will strike together to defend their pensions, conditions and pay.
Other public sector unions, including the PCS and the UCU, have said they will join strikes too.
When unions have called action it has been successful. The magnificent strike on 30 November last year, which brought together 2.6 million workers across 26 different unions, showed the potential for resistance.
That action should have been followed up with more united, hard-hitting strikes. Millions of workers had the power to stop the government in its tracks.
Yet many union leaders failed to capitalise on the mood among ordinary people to fight. Some walked away from the battlefield overnight. Others waited for someone else to take a lead—while the momentum of struggle drained away.
The Tories have only just begun their assault on our class. Their plans will devastate the lives of working class people for decades to come. The only way to stop the attacks is to fight, and the TUC demo on 20 October is a chance to launch a new wave of struggle.