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Posted on 20 December 2016 at 14:25 GMT

NSSN proud to give full support to Christmas strikes

NSSN lobby of TUC, 11.9.16, photo Paul Mattsson

NSSN lobby of TUC, 11.9.16, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)



The National Shop Stewards Network has posted on its website the following bulletin.

NSSN bulletin 321, 20th December 2016

In preparation for the strikes this week, the NSSN has been attacked by the media from the BBC to the Sunday Times and Daily Mail. We stand accused of calling for coordinated strike action and for the Tory government to be brought down.

We have nothing to apologise for. The NSSN has a proud record of calling for the maximum joint action by the unions in face of the most brutal austerity for 90 years. We campaigned for the two million-strong N30 public pensions strike in 2011 and lobbied TUC Congress in 2012 and 2013 to support motions voicing the need for general strike action to resist Tory cuts.

Of course, the media is trying to put the unions that have been forced into taking action this week onto the defensive. The attempt to create a witch-hunting atmosphere against the RMT and its president, Sean Hoyle, in particular for a speech at our rally at this year's TUC Congress, is sheer hypocrisy. The only people who have tried to make the Southern Rail strike political are the Tories, who have had a clear agenda to attack the rail unions.

We now have Tory MPs demanding that unions be stripped of their right to strike - yet we already have the most undemocratic anti-union laws in Western Europe, which are going to be further beefed up next March. This from a Tory government that was elected by only 24% of the electorate and a prime minister that got into office without any ballot!

There is no accident that these laws have been brought in at the same time as a new wave of cuts has been unleashed - especially in the NHS. The Tories know full well that the unions are still potentially the most powerful force in society to resist their austerity. Why shouldn't there be a general election on their cuts?

Workers are striking this week at Southern Rail, Crown Post Offices, cabin crews and baggage handlers at airports, for safety and decent pay and against attacks on pensions and office closures. Low-paid cinema workers in Hackney and Brixton have been taking action for the London Living Wage. Derby teaching assistants are again taking action against pay cuts of 23%! We call on all our supporters and affiliates to support these strikes by visiting picket lines and donating to strike funds.

Our weekly bulletins have recorded that 2016 was a year when many workers took action to defend themselves, including famously the junior doctors. Let's take confidence that the fighting spirit and mood shows no sign of dying out.

Season's greetings!

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