Socialist Party books and pamphlets

A Strategy To Defeat The Cuts


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For a 24 hour public sector general strike!

The trade unions in Britain have enormous potential power. They organise over six million workers who, if they go on strike, can potentially bring the country to a halt.

In 2010 workers across southern Europe took generalised strike action in order to try and stop the savage cuts being inflicted on their living standards.

Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Greece have all seen mass strike movements. In Greece there have been eight general strikes over the last year.

Here in Britain we are facing cuts on a similar scale. In response the TUC congress last year agreed to support "co-ordinated strike action" against the cuts.

Today's demonstration needs to be the launch pad for such co-ordinated strike action, for a 24 hour public sector general strike.

A massive national demonstration has given workers confidence that they are not alone but are part of massive movement against cuts. A public sector general strike, even a partial one, would do even more to raise confidence and prepare the ground for an all-out 24 hour general strike.

Confidence

Even more than in southern Europe, where general strikes are more frequent, it would also terrify the government.

How can such a strike be organised? Every part of the public sector is affected by the cuts. In most cases strike action is going to be needed to stop cuts.

Such local action and action by individual unions cannot be delayed until we get generalised strike action, but there is no objective reason why trade union leaders cannot discuss together in order to set a date on which everyone organising strike action plans to come out.

This would be a significant step towards a 24 hour general strike.

The attack on pensions is clearly an over-arching issue around which unions can co-ordinate strike action, although this does not preclude also coordinating strikes against other aspects of the cuts.

The civil servants union, PCS, is discussing balloting for action on pensions to take place in May or June. The NUT and UCU are also discussing action before the summer.

To have these three unions - one million workers - strike together over pensions would be an important step forward.


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