Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/680/12433
Tolpuddle says: 'step up the action'
This year's Tolpuddle Martyrs festival saw a record 10,000 people brave the rain to celebrate the victory of the early trade union movement against draconian attempts to stop workers from organising to defend their living standards. Today we face the biggest onslaught against workers' living standards for a generation and further attempts to restrict trade union rights.
The mood was bouyed by the magnificent strike action on 30 June. Trade unionists from many different unions and sectors saw the need to step up this action and there was an excellent response to the Socialist Party's call for a 24-hour public sector general strike as the next step in the fightback. There was also a lot of support for the National Shop Stewards Network's lobby of the TUC on 11 September.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said in his speech that Britain should be more like Greece with a 48-hour general strike. This was received with cheers and applause but unfortunately no concrete proposals were made to make this a reality.
At one of the meetings on the NHS, Labour health spokesman John Healey slammed the Con-Dems' plans to dismantle the NHS. When Rob, a Socialist Party member from Southampton, asked about hospital cuts in Southampton, a legacy of New Labour's time in office, he was told "not to believe Tory lies".
The audience saw through this and speaker after speaker attacked Labour's record on health cuts and PFI as well as their refusal to support strike action on 30 June.
Over 140 copies of the Socialist were sold, along with 40 Strategy to Fight the Cuts pamphlets.
Youth Fight for Jobs also had a stall, building support for the Jarrow march in October. £80 was raised toward the march and trade unionists took away letters to build support from their branches.
In The Socialist 20 July 2011:
News International scandal
Socialist Party news and analysis
Anti-cuts news and campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party review