Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/677/12333
After 30 June pensions walkouts
Next step: one-day public sector strike
Rob Williams, National Chair, National Shop Stewards Network
On Tuesday 28 June, two days before 750,000 public sector workers walked out against vicious pension cuts, Tory prime minister David Cameron said: "At a time when discussions are ongoing, I would say to you: these strikes are wrong".
He then went on to insist that the government would not change its course on the attacks - what kind of 'discussion' is that? In reality the government is determined to slash hardwon pension rights.
But the 30 June strikes, involving the PCS civil servants' union and teachers and lecturers in NUT, UCU and ATL showed the willingness to fight the Con-Dem government's attacks.
Now, around the country people are asking "what next to stop the millionaire axe-wielders?" As with the magnificent TUC demonstration on 26 March, the coalition has been shaken by the first coordinated strikes since it came to power.
They have responded with threats of yet more anti-union laws - already the most undemocratic in Western Europe - and Tory education secretary Michael Gove's pathetic attempts to set up a scab army of parents to foil striking teachers.
But we're still facing £81 billion cuts to our jobs, services and pensions. Socialist Party members and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) gave out thousands of leaflets on 30 June calling for a 24-hour public sector general strike to escalate the action to defeat the government.
We agree with the words of PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, who said: "We have to turn 750,000 out on 30 June into four million in the autumn". This means bringing on board the other public sector unions, in particular the 'Big 3' - Unison, Unite and GMB.
On 11 September, the NSSN will be lobbying the TUC to call for this coordinated action. The solidarity rallies on 30 June showed that strikes against this government's cuts agenda are overwhelmingly popular.
The victims, many of them isolated, suffering from the attacks on social services, children's services, housing benefit, etc can see that at least someone is fighting these cuts.
But Labour leader Ed Miliband has criticised the strikes. He has also pulled out of the Durham Miners' Gala because he doesn't want to stand alongside Bob Crow of the RMT transport union.
Yet again this shows the absolute necessity of the unions creating a new mass workers' party to give a political voice to our class. Socialists are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bob, the RMT and all workers, young people and campaigners against this government.
The RMT's recent victory on the London Underground showed the whole union movement that victories are possible with a determined leadership and if we are prepared to strike together.
Click here for reports of the 30 June strikes.
In The Socialist 1 July 2011:
30 June pensions strike
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party events