Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/362/5948
Cuts in jobs and public services...
Turn Anger Into Action
"WE HAVE to tell this government that we are fed up with them knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing", Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) general secretary Mark Serwotka told the TUC Conference.
Ken Smith and Bill Mullins, report from the TUC at Brighton
Mark and the PCS delegation were given a standing ovation - the longest applause of the week - calling for support for the PCS in the strike action it is organising against the government's 104,000 job cuts in the civil service.
The TUC unanimously gave its backing. This is something that members of trade unions and workers who use public services will want to see the union leaders deliver on in the months ahead.
Mark Serwotka spelt out what PCS members need: "We will not win this campaign without solidarity. We appeal for solidarity. And that means for unions to co-ordinate their campaigning and through co-ordinated industrial action as necessary."
The government is "playing politics with people's lives", behaving like any other rogue employer by announcing the job cuts on TV without consultation. It would decimate services that everyone in the country depends on from cradle to grave. Which services don't matter? .
Mark pointed to the effect of cutting jobs to the bone in British Airways. "It's one thing to experience delays to a flight to New York but it's another thing to suffer endlessly waiting for essential services."
Every speaker expressed support for the PCS. Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU), said that modernisation in the Post Office had seen a 'renewal plan' which was 100% focused on profit and 0% on services. This had led to a real crisis in customer confidence for which the front-line workers took the brunt of criticism.
The TUC general council would have to have a serious think about how to implement the terms of the motion - to show it was serious in delivering solidarity with the PCS.
The PCS are now balloting for strike action, which they plan to take on 5 November. All workers who want to defend public services will support the civil servants. Pressure will need to be built to turn the union leaders' words into action.
In The Socialist 18 September 2004:
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