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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2010

National Shop Stewards Network lobby - Manchester

TUC told to name the day

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi   (Click to enlarge)

I didn't want to get up at 6am in the morning on my Sunday off to make a four hour journey to Manchester and then a four hour journey back to ask the TUC Congress to name the day for a national demonstration.

Nancy Taaffe

The reality is for the public sector workers crammed onto the Waltham Forest mini-bus and for the 700 working and young people who participated in the rallies, march and lobby outside the congress the mood was that we really didn't have much choice, we had to go.

With budget cuts already starting to bite and a daily tirade undermining public services and particularly libraries (a service I work for) the reality is I could have lost my job by the time the first all Britain anti-cuts demo is organised if the TUC delays. Timing in the struggle is of the essence. A retrospective fight can be waged but it is not the best strategy and speaker after speaker on Sunday climbed the podium to address the crowd and say so.

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi   (Click to enlarge)

In these days of sound bites, spin and airbrushing it was good to see two trade union general secretaries climbing onto a makeshift stage to speak to the crowd. Bob Crow and Billy Hayes both reiterated their support for a coordinated Trade Union Congress fightback.

It was good to hear leading members of the PCS along with firefighters, BBC engineers, shop workers and young unemployed people adding their voice to the push for the TUC to name the day for a national demo in 2010.

The march seemed to pick up local youth and passers-by as we made the short walk to the Manchester Mechanics Institute. It's a long time since I've been in a labour movement meeting where there were not enough seats but people sat on the floor and huddled around the doors to hear the speeches. Time and time again workers' representatives got up and explained that the shock therapy which is being proposed in the October comprehensive spending review needs to have a resistance, like the anti-poll tax campaign, prepared now.

NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Dave Beale

NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Dave Beale   (Click to enlarge)

In the mini-bus on the way back workers from the local hospital were being sent texts saying we had made the national news. It is strange that sometimes 20,000 can march and there is a virtual media blackout but it seemed that this protest was covered on all the major news programmes along with the breakfast news the next day. This made the eight-hour round trip in a cramped minibus seem worthwhile.

Our job from this lobby is to build the momentum for action, for a united campaign spearheaded by the TUC drawing in families and friends that could break this shaky Con-Dem marriage.

A small fire was set under the seat of the TUC general council. Our job is to make this fire an inferno.

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In The Socialist 15 September 2010:

Join the fight against cuts

Socialist Party editorial

Decisive action can defeat this government

TUC congress

TUC backs youth jobs demo

TUC told to name the day

TUC: Build for action against cuts

Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the 'slippery slope' to two-tier education

How will the Browne Review into university funding affect you?

Student strikes can win results

Feature: Socialist Party women

Women and the struggle against oppression

Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

Privatisation's giant wrecking ball

Fight the jobs cuts massacre

Middlesborough local union-led public services alliance set up

Fast news

General strike in France

Osborne targets the needy

Labour councillors challenged in Hastings

Shropshire: showing socialist alternative gets results

Socialist Party workplace news

London Underground: Action biting against job cuts

UCU executive pulls out of strike ballot

Fight for jobs at GSK

Workplace news in brief

Anti-cuts campaign

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Hull park rangers protest

How do we vote to stop the cuts?

Nottinghamshire: Campaign saves vital service

Lobbies warn councils of workers' action

Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: How can we save the environment?

International socialist news and analysis

All-India general strike: Eyewitness report from Chennai

Fighting oppression in Kazakhstan

Socialist Party review

The Third Man


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