Socialist Worker

We must make sure our unions don’t squander the mood to fight

Issue No. 2411

Public sector unions struck together over pensions in 2011

Public sector unions struck together over pensions in 2011 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories are threatening to bring in new laws to try and stop public sector workers going on strike. 

This shows that no matter what they claim strikes make them worried. They are what make bosses and politicians listen. 

Without workers society can’t function. Strikes are how workers can use their collective force to exert power over the bosses and politicians who run society. 

We need protests and demonstrations. We want every campaign to come together to have the biggest possible impact. The TUC demo on 18 October should be massive. 

We need to take every possible action that can raise workers’ confidence. 

But if we are going to win we need to demand union leaders step up and call bigger strikes in the autumn, involving more workers. 

We need workers across Scotland to join the fight. We need private sector workers to unite with all of those in the public sector. 

If workers are going to lose precious pay by striking they need to feel that the union leaders have a strategy to win. The big one-day strike cannot be used simply as a form of protest. Over half a million Unison members in the NHS are set to ballot during the summer for strikes over pay in the autumn. 

Just think, if over two million workers struck in September, and then said one day wasn’t enough and went for more. Then imagine they said they would keep going until they won. 

Millions of working class people would show their support. 

Local strikes battling bosses’ attacks would be bolstered and the Tories would be in trouble. 

After 10 July there will be many debates about what comes next. Some union leaders will want to say we have had our one-day strike, now let’s look to other sorts of action. Of course any resistance must be welcome, especially if it brings new forces into the fight. 

But it would be a waste if the action of nearly 1.5 million workers was not used to bring on a new wave of struggle. 

This is a fight we can win. The Tories are not all powerful, they face their own problems. The establishment has been exposed as corrupt and rotten to the core. 

But it seems politicians of all the main parties agree on one thing—making working class people pay for the crisis. 

Labour isn’t offering anything to workers struggling on low pay. They’ve declared a Labour government will not raise the 1 percent cap on public sector pay. 

We need to build a mass united fight to stop the assault on working class people. But we must also pose the alternative of a different sort of society. 

A socialist society driven by providing for the needs of the many not the profits of the few.


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