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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2011

Firefighters discuss strategy to fight cuts

Hugh Caffrey, North West Socialist Party

Seventy delegates to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference attended the official fringe meeting about how to fight the cuts.

On the panel was Dave Nellist for the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), speakers from Right to Work and Coalition of Resistance, FBU activist Steve Roberts who stood for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Rugby, and Matt Wrack FBU general secretary.

Dave Nellist contrasted the fury of millions at the Con-Dems' cuts with the insipid opposition from the benches of New Labour.

In the 1980s, explained Dave, Labour councils at least initially opposed the Thatcher government before they all bowed the knee - except for Liverpool and Lambeth. But now the unions are faced with fighting cuts with no real parliamentary support.

"We can defeat the Con-Dems' plans through widespread, coordinated strike action, which should include a 24-hour public sector general strike," Dave said. "But the question of course is, what follows after we get rid of them? We need trade union policies, socialist policies, of opposition to all cuts and privatisation and we need a vehicle like TUSC which can address that issue too."

Steve Roberts explained how he and other TUSC supporters brought together "a strong spectrum of left candidates" on behalf of TUSC in Rugby.

Matt Wrack outlined the battles facing the FBU and all public sector unions. Matt explained the need for coordinated industrial action on a scale capable of defeating the Con-Dems' attacks.

The FBU still has socialism as an objective of the union's constitution, said Matt, and a socialist political solution is necessary.

A range of comments and questions from the floor reflected the frustration of many workers at the employers' offensive, including falling wages, not yet being matched by a mass national anti-cuts movement or a sufficiently powerful political alternative.

Dave, Steve and Matt in their replies indicated the urgent need to strengthen the industrial and political struggle against the neoliberal parties' agenda and for a socialist working class political alternative.

The NSSN and the TUSC can make a powerful contribution to these battles.

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In The Socialist 25 May 2011:


What we think

Weak and unpopular coalition can be defeated


Anti-cuts campaigning

National shop stewards conference - Unite to stop the cuts

As the cost of living soars...: 'We are going to fight back'!

An offer we must refuse

Why Liverpool needs a needs budget

Showing an alternative to cuts in Dorset


Defending the NHS

Battling to defend the NHS

NHS demo in London needs to be a step towards united national strike action

Unison leaders failing to adopt the demands of health workers

Challenging Tories' plans to kill our health service


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: developing strategies for struggle

UCU facing battles on all fronts

Southampton city council workers strike

Three day strike to stop redundancies at Sheffield College

Firefighters discuss strategy to fight cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"

Atos Origin - profiting from pain

'Slutwalk' protests: Women reject sexism

Slave labour schemes must be resisted


Reviews and comments

Leadership failed print workers in vital battle

Review: The street that cut everything


Socialist Party news and analysis

McNulty's railway report: not 'value for money'!

Care homes privatisation hits the elderly

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Eyewitness report: Mass youth protests in Spain

Ireland: 'Reclaim the unions'

Greece: Resist bosses' agenda and the far right


 

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