Teachers are set to hold a regional strike on 17 October and the firefighters’ FBU union has called a national demonstration the day before on 16 October.
Thousands of workers have marched and struck against the Tories’ attacks in recent weeks. Many are asking how the struggle can go forward.
This is why hundreds of activists are organising to come to the Unite the Resistance (UtR) conference in London on 19 October.
Maurice Shaw, PCS union assistant branch secretary in Manchester, is coming for the second time, after attending the 800-strong UtR conference last year.
“I want to go this time because as a rep I think we need coordinated action or we will have another five years of attacks,” he said.
Lina Kotadia, a housing worker, has worked for Leicester council for 15 years. She is coming to the conference with a group of Unison union members.
She said, “I want to learn how we take action to challenge the attacks on our public services.”
Lina wants other Unison members not yet booked up to come along because of the strength that comes from organising alongside other people who want to fight.
“I went on the demo in Manchester, it was amazing,” she said. “If we are going to stop this we can’t do it individually. We have to pull together.”
Other workers in struggle will be at the conference including teachers, Hovis workers, Glasgow social workers and firefighters.
Dave Waterman, south west area FBU chair, is coming to the conference because it’s a way to invigorate those who want to resist. “I’ve got a bit of oomph for a fight,” he said.
The conference includes workshops to debate what form that fight must take.
Maurice is also on the PCS black members committee. He is going to the workshop on fighting oppression. “Racism is back on the agenda so we have to use the unions to help oppose the racists,” he said.
Paul Garraway, a postal worker and Oxfordshire CWU rep, is coming with a delegation from his branch. “The workshops at the conference on striking to win and building strong workplace organisation will be very important to us,” he said.
“Because of privatisation we’re fighting for a legally binding contract.”
Workers have taken mass action and seen retreats from their union leaders in recent years. The conference can be a place for a serious discussion about the problems workers face and how to overcome them.
Solidarity is key. Frank Morris, who recently won his battle against blacklisting, will be speaking on the day. He said it is important “as it helps link up like-minded people and through their solidarity we are not alone”.
As Paul said, “We’re not the only ones getting hammered by the Tories. We’re going to build solidarity with other workers because it might take more than us to bring them down.”
Unite the Resistance conference, Saturday 19 October, 12-5pm, Central London.
For further information or to register, go to uniteresist.org