The 20 October demonstrations against Tory cuts brought almost a quarter of a million onto the streets of London and Glasgow. They showed the continuing force of the anti-austerity movement. However they have left many asking where we go from here—and how we get there.
That’s why activists from across Britain are planning a national conference in London that will bring together workers from across the unions.
The Unite the Resistance conference on 17 November will hear from left wing union leaders, an Egyptian trade unionist and a South African miner among others.
It will also begin to build networks across workplaces. And it will discuss how to overcome the frustration of many activists that there have not been further mass strikes since 30 November last year.
Already hundreds are registered for the event. Over 60 union and community groups are sponsoring it, with many organising delegations.
Jim Main is a shop steward in Glasgow City Unison union, which voted to send delegates. “It’s time now to fight back by striking together,” he told Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.
He explained that the local branch committee and a series of workplace meetings in Glasgow have passed a motion calling for coordinated strikes.
“It calls on the Scottish TUC and the TUC to organise in effect a general strike,” he said. “Even in the day centres, where there are fears of job losses, the motion was passed.”
Anna Owens from the PCS Revenue & Customs branch in London’s Euston agreed. Her branch has also backed the event. “The Unite the Resistance conference couldn’t have happened at a better time,” she said.
Civil service workers were recently told their terms and conditions are to be ripped up. “The best response so far has come from Coventry Revenue and Customs, who walked out for 15 minutes,” added Anna.
“We’re organising to get civil service workers up and down Britain to follow their lead and walk out on 14 November, the day of the European strike.”
Anna said her branch wants to use Unite the Resistance to share ideas, experiences and tactics. “Above all,” she said, “we want to debate how we organise to get a general strike—a strike that workers in this country are crying out?for.”
You can get tickets for the event, and download motions to pass supporting the conference and a general strike, at uniteresist.org.
‘I’ll be there’
Chrissie Gardner, Unite health worker in Bristol, is coming to the conference. “The 20 October demo was fantastic for our branch. We took four coaches to London. We’ve got 11 people going to Unite the Resistance as branch delegates.
“They’re keen to come, to be part of organising what comes next. The pay cartel here has been a final straw for many. Unite the Resistance will help us link up our local fightback with other workers and trade unionists.”
Unite the Resistance conference, Saturday 17 November, 11am-5pm, Emmanuel Centre, London SW1P 3DW