Thursday, 15 September 2011

November 30th is the date, lets build on June 30th

Today as the end of the TUC congress draws to a close we see the news that a potential 14 unions are set to take industrial action this winter in one of the biggest walk outs since the 20's some have said. This is very welcome news after the NSSN called on the TUC to push for a 24 hour public sector general strike. I think the NSSN and its supporters of militant trade unionists can feel especially proud that this seems to have found a impact and bigger unions with more members potentially millions will be balloting members on industrial action over public sector pensions reforms.

Four unions - Unison, Unite, the GMB and the Fire Brigades' Union - are already balloting over co-ordinated industrial action.

Mr Barber said 10 other unions were also looking to hold a vote on strikes.

He promised 30 November would bring "the biggest trade union mobilisation for a generation".

'Fight of our lives'

Unions and the government have been in talks over pension contribution rises since the beginning of the year, with ministers saying the change - scheduled for next April - is needed to make schemes sustainable in the face of an ageing population.

On Wednesday, the TUC voted unanimously in favour of action against the move as its annual conference

Mr Barber told the BBC it could be the first of several such days, saying: "If there's no progress, then potentially we will see very widespread industrial action across the public services."

He added: "We are absolutely committed to justice for the millions of workers we represent."

Events will "range from strike action, where ballot mandates have been secured from members and unions judge that appropriate, through to lunchtime meetings, rallies and joint events with community groups and service users", Mr Barber said.

Union leaders will hold another meeting at the end of September to co-ordinate their actions.

Proposing a motion backing mass strikes to the TUC conference, Unison leader Dave Prentis revealed he was giving 9,000 employers formal notice that his union's 1.1 million members would be balloted.

He added: "It's the fight of our lives. I know it's an over-used cliché, but make no mistake, this is it."

The GMB's Brian Strutton said: "We're not talking about a day out and a bit of a protest. We're talking about something that's long and hard and dirty as well, because this is going to require days of action running through the winter, through into next year, following the government's legislative programme rig

As a socialist and a trade unionist this is very welcome news from some of the more moderate trade union leaders like Dave Prentice and co. But we welcome this move and hope this leads to further action with many yes votes being won in ballots across teh country.
The biggest signal workers can send to this government is that many support the action and this is not just about public vs private as private sector workers are under attack too. Union leaders must be willing to branch out to private sector workers to co-ordinate any disputes they have around this date too i would say. To build bridges between public and private sector workers will create a mass wall of solidarity in working Britain.

June 30th where we saw 750 thousand public sector workers ouout of work on strike was great and much welcome but this next period of action looks to be much much bigger. We could see all firefighters not working that day, No schools in the state sector open, passport offices closed ports and imigration posts closed. Mass walk outs will have a huge impact and this government has not got a clue what it is up against. the trade union movement.

When the trade unions which are sleeping gaints wake up and move they have such power the government can be brought to its knees.

And that comrades is waht is needed to push this government back on its austerity programme. Although these strikes will be about public sector pensions and reforms to them it is in no doubt these strikes will be based around a broader message opposing all cuts to workers and the working class. We will not pay for this crisis that is not of any of our making. The capitalists want to make the working class pay for the mistakes of their wreckless risk taking system which has failed them. The system which cannot provide us all with secure jobs, decent pay and affordable decent homes is not a system we wish to see continue.

I will be supporting all striking workers on 30th November and i hope you all will too. As Dave prentice said and we're glad he has joined this fight that this is the fight of our lives. We must win we cannot afford to loose this one.

United we stand divided we fall. Stand up for working people stand side by side we can defeat this weak government and push back these cuts that are being thrown down on us from a great height.

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