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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13280

Posted on 1 December 2011 at 16:47 GMT

NSSN placards (foreground) on the November 30th demo in London, photo Paul Mattsson

NSSN placards (foreground) on the November 30th demo in London, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

London NSSN meeting - 'the genie is out of the bottle'

'Standing room only' doesn't even begin to describe the London National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) meeting held on N30.

Coming straight from the fantastic demonstration, the mood in the meeting was sky-high after such a historic day.

The meeting was opened by Martin Powell-Davies of the NUT national executive (personal capacity) and Rob Williams, chair of the NSSN.

Cheers greeted the many uplifting reports from picket lines and the march from Lincoln's Inn Fields to the Embankment.

Retired public sector worker Mike Cleverley (and apparently his pension isn't very 'gold-plated') reported on conversations he had overheard on the tube travelling to the London demo: "The genie is out of the bottle"; while the front page of the free Metro paper declared "This is class war".

Glenn Kelly, witch-hunted Unison member, described the new generation "blooded" in the day's strike.

There was a serious discussion about the next steps the NSSN needs to fight for. This includes keeping up the pressure inside unions such as Unison, whose current leadership will need to be pushed to continue the struggle.

A mental health nurse described brilliant picket lines built by ordinary members despite the efforts of the local union bureaucracy to prevent a proper strike in her area.

A Unison member described how a regional officer had told him he couldn't wear a Unison tabard and carry a Socialist Party placard! "Is it better to hold a placard saying cuts are 'Too far too fast' and a Labour rosette?"

Alex Gordon, president of the RMT, moved everyone in the meeting with his report of the strike by RMT members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary - a massive picket on the main naval dockyard, where the knot of history was tied when they were joined by veteran seafarers.

To applause, he argued for united trade union action and for linking together public and private sector workers.

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, raised the sights of the meeting, explaining how the depth of the economic crisis means not only the necessity of a massive united fight by the trade unions, but also the need for a socialist programme and a mass working class alternative to New Labour.

The meeting pledged support for a prison worker who had joined the PCS union in order to join the picket line at his prison, and was later informed he had been sacked.

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party secretary

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