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How can we win the battle against the Tories?

This article is over 13 years, 5 months old
Activists from across the trade union movement discuss the kind of tactics we will need to beat the coalition government
Issue 2221
Birmingham Right to Work campaigners, including Unison stewards from Handsworth leisure centre, out leafleting for the 3 October protest against the Tories  (Pic: Geoff Dexter)
Birmingham Right to Work campaigners, including Unison stewards from Handsworth leisure centre, out leafleting for the 3 October protest against the Tories (Pic: Geoff Dexter)

Steve Hedley, RMT London regional organiser

“Coordinated industrial action will be key to what happens. Demonstrations are good, but hitting the bosses and the government in the pocket is what matters.

The anti-cuts movement must involve unions, community groups and anyone who uses the services.

The government won’t be able to defeat that kind of coalition.

The RMT has played a leading role so far, initiating the march to the TUC rally in London on 23 October, for instance. We are working with other unions, such as the PCS, the FBU and the NUT.

It’s official TUC policy to oppose the cuts, which we need to act upon. When we put the bones of it in place now—it will soon flesh out.

When the cuts start, people will look for a pole of opposition—we have to provide that.”

Dave Sherry, branch secretary, Unite Scottish housing branch

“A union meeting of around 30 people at my workplace voted for our union to call on the TUC to organise a 24-hour general strike. Nobody was against the motion.

A lot of folk at work say we need to fight together.

They’ve seen what the workers have been doing in Greece and France—and are asking why we aren’t doing the same.

We work in housing, in an old shipyard area of Glasgow. The Tories’ housing benefit cuts will savage people’s ability to rent decent housing, and will affect our jobs.

I now intend to put the motion to a branch workplace delegate meeting in a few weeks time.

People are angry. I would encourage everyone to raise the motion as I’m sure they’d get a good response.”

Zita Holbourne, PCS national executive and Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

“The huge cuts will have a devastating impact on the lives of the people that civil service workers serve.

Women and black workers will be hit particularly hard by job losses.

The union is building a national campaign against the cuts, with meetings in every workplace. We’re making alliances, including an agreement with the Unison union.

We are arguing that there is an alternative to cuts. For instance, every year more than £120 billion in tax is evaded, avoided and uncollected.

If more people were employed in Revenue & Customs to collect this, three quarters of the deficit could be met.

The next step will be to look to industrial action, which should be taken with other unions if possible. It would make a huge impact if we were all out together.”

Tony Souter, NUT secretary, Warwickshire division

“I feel that people are starting to move. Everywhere I go—work, the hairdressers—I’m talking to people about how this government will make Margaret Thatcher look pleasant.

David Cameron and George Osborne are out to destroy our world. People see that and are asking what can we do to stop it.

So I put the motion calling for a general strike to my local NUT meeting.

When I moved it, I said that the TUC conference was brilliant—look at what the union leaders were saying about fighting the cuts. I said we had to do something about the plans to decimate the welfare state.

And everyone agreed. After people made a couple of minor changes, we had a unanimous vote to support the motion.”

For a copy of the general strike model motion go to

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