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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 December 2012

Yorkshire NSSN plans for future battles

The Yorkshire Shop Stewards Network conference held in Leeds on 24 November was attended by 45 delegates from 14 different trade unions from Hull, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, York, Harrogate and West Yorkshire.

The theme of the day was "fighting cuts and privatisation, build for a one-day general strike. Bring down the Con-Dem government".

Andrea Busfield, a striking medical secretary from Mid Yorks NHS Trust opened the conference with an inspiring speech about how the mainly women admin and clerical workers are fighting management plans to cut their pay by 1,700-2,800 a year.

Other speakers included Ian Bell, Unite shop steward for electricians from BP Saltend, Hull, who recounted the Sparks battle against the "Scabby Seven" employers over the pay-cutting Besna agreement. "I'm more used to speaking in a car park, or on a hill or fence in front of 2-300 angry bears" he joked

Chris Skidmore, the president of Yorkshire area NUM, said that 540 miners faced redundancy with the closure of Maltby pit.

He recounted his own experiences at the Battle of Orgreave and the criminalisation of NUM strikers ever since.

He said of the Labour government: "13 years, you can count on one hand what they did for us, it's a bloody disgrace."

Richard Chamberlain, the Leeds branch chair of the prison officers' union POA, "also known to the Tories as those buggers that went on strike even though its illegal."

He explained why the POA had proposed the motion at the TUC conference calling for consideration of a one day general strike.

National chair of the NSSN Rob Williams pulled together all the strands of the conference speeches by calling on the TUC to name the day for a 24-hour general strike, co-ordinating the public sector with private sector disputes.

Kevin Pattison, West Yorks CWU and Yorkshire rep on the NSSN steering committee, concluded the conference by explaining the need to develop the Shop Stewards Network in Yorkshire, and ten delegates volunteered to sit on a regional steering committee.

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