Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/755/16270

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 March 2013

Editorial of the Socialist

TUC must name the day for 24-hour strike

TUC demo 20 October 2012 placard for a 24 hour general strike , photo Becky Davis

TUC demo 20 October 2012 placard for a 24 hour general strike , photo Becky Davis   (Click to enlarge)

Over a quarter of a million civil service union PCS members will walk out on 20 March, the day Chancellor George Osborne stands up to deliver yet another cuts budget.

This strike is the next step of PCS's battle to defend its hard-won terms and conditions from attack as well as to fight to break the five-year public sector pay freeze. It could and should also herald the next phase in the general struggle against the Con-Dems' austerity offensive. PCS has clearly called for coordinated action and it is urgent that the TUC sets the date for a 24-hour general strike.

The PCS has won its industrial action ballot - 61% for strike and 80% for action short of a strike on a 28% turnout. While the Tories and even pessimists within the union movement might try to denigrate the figures, it shows a clear majority for strike action. As Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, put it: "it is not voting in the ballot that matters, it is voting with your feet."

In local ballots and disputes across the country, votes for strike action show that where a strong lead is given, workers want the opportunity to fight.

Not to Cuts: for a 24 hour general strike now! - Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs on demo, photo Paul Mattsson

Not to Cuts: for a 24 hour general strike now! - Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs on demo, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

PCS, with Socialist Party members playing leading roles, has been to the forefront in resisting Cameron and Clegg's cuts. The high point was undoubtedly the strikes in 2011. Later sold out by right-wing trade union leaders, they were nonetheless a defiant reaction to the first year's imposition of increased pension contributions - effectively a pay cut on the top of the pay freeze. Since then, PCS has taken action across many of the civil service departments, from the Home Office, DfT to DWP and HMRC, winning major concessions and even victories over the government.

The second dose of increased pension contributions will be applied after the budget and yet another next year, which will include millions of local government workers for the first time.

For many of these workers already suffering from the pay freeze and many in fact having lost thousands from changes to their contracts, the 'deal' done after N30 will be a distant memory.

That two-year delay was the main thing that Unison general secretary Dave Prentis used to justify the pensions sell-out, yet the pay offer to council workers of 1% plus strings, in real terms a pay cut of up to 2%, shows that all public sector workers are fundamentally in the same position as PCS members.

Already it has been estimated that real earnings are on average 16% below pre-crisis levels, falling every month for the last three years. All this without the new raft of welfare cuts. 60% of welfare recipients are working, including 300,000 nurses, 150,000 teachers and 40,000 soldiers. A million workers now depend on housing benefit, a figure that has doubled in this period. On top of this, up to half a million public sector workers have lost their jobs through cuts.

Budget day walkout

24 Hour Public Sector General Strike Now - Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson

24 Hour Public Sector General Strike Now - Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson

The walkout on budget day will be happening just as the TUC considers the submissions of unions in response to the POA general strike motion which was passed at TUC Congress last September.

The Socialist Party, the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and others in the unions have acted to popularise a 24-hour general strike against austerity. The NSSN lobbied TUC congress, along with up to 1,000 union and anti-cuts activists.

At a time of further devastating cuts to council services and jobs, the NHS and welfare, thousands of union reps and shop stewards will be asking: "General strike to fight austerity - what's there to think about?" They are speaking for millions of working class people who would give full backing to a 24-hour general strike.

The N30 strike was supported by a clear majority in Britain. This rose to over 80% approval among the young, who face a nightmare future of zero-hour contracts, unaffordable housing and sky-high tuition fees.

Even the police voted by an 81% majority for the right to strike. It may have been ruled out because 'only' 42% voted - far bigger than the 15% turnout in the Police Commissioners' election last year - but it will terrify this Tory-led government.

Militant unions like PCS, RMT and POA have called on the TUC to investigate whether a 24-hour general strike could be carried out legally. In addition, PCS has called on all unions to look to coordinate strike ballots and thereby disputes in the public and private sector in mass joint strike action.

This could be done throughout the public sector on pay alone which then could be spread to the private sector.

In the private sector there seems to be local strikes and protests almost weekly - even if they are ignored in the big business-owned media - and some have won victories. Just in the last few weeks, workers have won major gains if not outright victories in Grangemouth with the oil tanker drivers, in Greencore in Hull and construction workers forcing Urenco and Jacobs to adhere to national agreements in Capenhurst.

The NUT has a national dispute on pay, pensions and working conditions. Unfortunately the leadership has not yet set a date for strike action. Given the enormous attacks on teachers it is urgent that they do so.

An indication of the mood of teachers is shown by Lewisham NUT which recently unanimously passed amendments to NUT conference resolutions calling for national strike action on 1 May and 27 June as part of a rolling programme of action.

Those union leaderships in favour of determined coordinated action against the cuts should meet soon to discuss how they can drive this process forward.

By supplementing their walkout on 20 March with lunchtime protests, including outside Parliament at the same time as Osborne speaks, with an appeal to all other unions, trades councils and anti-cuts campaigns to join them, the sights of workers inside and outside the PCS could be raised about what is possible right now. It would also put huge pressure on the other trade union leaders. It is time to strike together. The TUC must name the day.


See also PCS calls national strike on Budget Day


National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)

Come to the 7th annual national NSSN conference

Saturday 29 June, 11am-5pm

Camden Centre, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE

Speakers include Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, Billy Hayes CWU general secretary and Steve Gillan, POA general secretary.

Send your name, union and contact details to:

info@shopstewards.net

Send your fee of 6 per person, payable to National Shop Stewards Network, to PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 March 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Scrap the bedroom tax

TUC must name the day for 24-hour strike

PCS calls national strike on Budget Day

Socialist Party Congress 2013

Forbes Rich List exposes obscene inequality

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Stop violence against women


International socialist news and analysis

Hugo Chavez dies but the struggle continues

Italy: Voters reject austerity


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop cuts and privatisation, to save our NHS!

Eastleigh: growing revulsion at main parties

Anti-cuts protester arrested for using right to free speech

Hull, Warrington, Bristol and Bradford


Socialist Party workplace news

Security workers on London Overground strike against 'slave conditions'

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party review

TV review: Britain on Benefits


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 March 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Strike:

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleDramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

TUC:

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleTories torn - bin them now

PCS:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

trianglePCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

trianglePCS union says no to pay misery

Pay:

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

Cuts:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

29/11/17

Them & Us

Them & us

29/11/17

Homes

Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices

29/11/17

Wages

Make the Tories history

29/11/17

Birmingham

Birmingham bin workers win!

29/11/17

British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy

23/11/17

Pay

After the budget - unions must launch pay fight

22/11/17

Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2