Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/777/17294
Stop cuts - Demand united action
Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike
Martin Powell-Davies, Member of the NUT teachers' union executive
I might be a physics teacher but it doesn't take rocket science to work out why the trade union movement needs to start taking united strike action. The Coalition is pushing ahead with vicious cuts, privatisation of services and attacks on our pay, pensions, rights and conditions. It's high time that they were stopped.
There is a force that can do this - trade unions taking united strike action, backed up with support from the communities whose jobs and services we are struggling to defend.
Trade unions are strongest when we act together. It's about time that we did so. That's the message that the lobby of the Trades Union Congress being organised by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) will be taking to TUC delegates in Bournemouth on Sunday 8 September.
A number of trade unions are already battling in important local or national disputes. FBU members have been balloting on industrial action to defend firefighters' pensions.
The CWU have agreed to hold a national ballot of Royal Mail workers against privatisation. UCU members in higher education are considering action over pay. PCS is consulting members across the civil service on the next stage of its campaign of industrial action.
Teachers will be leading the way this autumn. A solid strike of both NUT and NASUWT members closed schools right across the North West region in June. Now members of both unions in the rest of England and Wales will take part in one of two further days of regional strikes in September and October. That will be followed by a day's joint national strike action in November.
Teachers have no choice but to take action. From September, the government is imposing divisive performance-pay arrangements that will allow school management to pick and choose who gets a pay-rise - and who doesn't. It's a scheme designed to cut the pay bill and to force teachers to work even longer hours. In the New Year, they're planning to announce more attacks on working conditions.
There are other important events for trade unionists to support in September - not least to build a mass demonstration in Manchester outside the Tory party conference on 29 September to call a halt to the destruction of the NHS by this government in the interests of their big business backers.
However, demonstrations alone will not be enough. We need to call on the TUC to organise strike action coordinated right across our movement, a 24-hour general strike.
Some trade union leaders will continue to prevaricate but that makes it even more important that those who are up for the fight make plans for coordinated strike action.
The NUT and NASUWT have already pencilled in a date for national action in November. Let's make it a day of coordinated national strike action that can start to push this government back at last.
Lobby the TUC
All out together in November
Sunday 8 September
12.30 Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5AH (opposite the TUC conference venue)
Protest at the Tory Conference
SAVE OUR NHS •Defend Jobs and Services • No to Austerity
Manchester March and Rally - Sunday 29 September
Assemble at Liverpool Road, M3 4FP, 11am
Marching to a rally in Whitworth Park
In The Socialist 28 August 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
'Youth Fight for Jobs' campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party reviews