Socialist Worker

‘If we all acted together, we would be powerful’

by by Julia Armstrong, chair South Yorkshire NUJ
Issue No. 2345

Over 200 people met in Sheffield for a South Yorkshire Unite the Resistance conference on Saturday of last week.

PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka talked about the upcoming strikes by 250,000 PCS members (see left).

He said that George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review in May would “butcher public spending”. 

“We need mass strikes and mass protests uniting everyone across the country,” he said. 

“That is possible. We did it once, we can do it again.”

Duncan Blackie, an NUT union steward at Longley Park sixth form college in Sheffield, spoke about a victory in defending jobs at the college.

Head of the bakers’ BFAWU union, Ronnie Draper, said the union was balloting members about a general strike. He added, “I’m not saying a general strike is popular. It’s a difficult thing to achieve. 

“If we don’t ask the question, we’ll never know the answer. If we thought and acted together, look how powerful we’d be.”

Speakers at the final session included Karen Grimaldi from Mid Yorks Hospitals, where staff are fighting pay and job cuts. She said, “Standing together produces results.

“We are hoping the downbanding threat will be withdrawn this week. Our victory is your victory.”

She said that if the threat was not withdrawn, Unison would ballot 3,000 Mid Yorks staff.

Conference delegates, who also supported a lunchtime bedroom tax demonstration, broke into workshops.

They agreed to combat media lies on benefits, resist evictions and build for a regional protest to defend the NHS in May. 

A South Yorkshire steering committee for Unite the Resistance was set up, representing 16 unions and campaigns.


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