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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 April 2013

Scottish TUC supports 24-hour general strike against austerity

Philip Stott

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) has passed a motion in support of a one-day general strike in Scotland in response to the savage austerity being carried out by the Con-Dem government.

The debate and vote at the STUC was overwhelmingly in favour of the composite motion which called on the STUC general council to: "Coordinate among affiliates and with the British TUC an industrial action strategy, including a Scotland-wide one-day strike, aligned with any industrial action at a UK level as appropriate."

The naming of the day for a mass coordinated day of strike action is essential to take the fight back to the Con-Dems.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) had put forward a motion outlining this strategy, which was included in the overall wide-ranging composite on the alternative to cuts and austerity.

PCS vice-president John McInally made a powerful contribution during the debate, describing the austerity programme of the government as "a reversal of wealth and power from the poorest in the pursuit of profit."

John highlighted the fact that 40% of PCS members who will be administering the planned Universal Credit will be recipients of the same benefit themselves, given the poverty pay civil servants live on.

"There is a political consensus among all the major parties, Labour included, in favour of austerity. 30 November 2011 saw the power of our movement in a mass strike on pensions.

"What followed was a shameful and humiliating surrender, which can never happen again. We now need to address the preparations for a one-day general strike."

Unison, Unite, the Fire Brigade Union, the RMT transport union, the GMB and the STUC general council, among others, supported the composite motion.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, demanded to know: "What are we going to do about it? We need to name the day for a 24-hour general strike."

He also called for the nationalisation of the banks and the major companies and for the building of a socialist society.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU pointed out, on the day of Thatcher's funeral, that capitalism has failed working class people: "we need to get rid of capitalism."

Reverse the cuts

The overall motion also condemned the failure of politicians from "mainstream parties" to oppose the myth that the attacks on jobs, pay, terms and conditions and pensions are an economic necessity.

It went on to demand that a future Labour government reverse the chronic attacks on all areas of working people's lives.

There is no chance of a future Labour government carrying this out. The two Eds, Miliband and Balls, have refused to promise to reverse any of the Con-Dem cuts if Labour is elected.

The Socialist Party is campaigning for the building of a new mass working class party, with the trade unions playing a central role.

The motion also included calls for an economic alternative to austerity based on "common ownership, investment in public services and for full employment."

We agree with these demands, but it is necessary to implement thorough-going socialist measures, including nationalisation under democratic working class control of the banks and big industry alongside a massive programme of public investment to rebuild shattered public services.

Janice Godrich, PCS national president, outlined the case for a 24-hour general strike and a political alternative to the parties of cuts at a well-attended fringe meeting of over 40 delegates organised by the Trade Union Coordinating Group. Bob Crow and Matt Wrack also spoke.

From the website of Socialist Party Scotland -

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In The Socialist 24 April 2013:

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