The Socialist 4 August 2010
Con-Dem cuts mean: we need ‘biggest movement since poll tax’
Con-Dem cuts mean:
We need 'biggest movement since poll tax'
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), meeting this year in Manchester, needs to hear clearly from ordinary trade unionists and activists that the time has come to get off its knees and organise a fightback against the government's programme of cuts.
Bill Mullins, NSSN Steering Committee
Never has a government been so crude in its attacks. They couldn't wait to wield the axe against the workers who supply public services, from the NHS to council social services departments - to the cleaners and refuse workers who work to maintain our streets and environment.
Public sector workers are being demonised every day in the press by an unholy alliance of big business and capitalist politicians.
The main defence that the workers have is their trade unions. RMT transport union leader Bob Crow has called for "generalised strike action and community resistance" on the scale of the anti- poll tax movement. Yet, with the exception of unions like the RMT and the PCS civil servants' union and a few others, there is a deafening silence from the leading councils of the union movement.
The mass lobby of the TUC conference is an attempt to break this silence and demonstrate that an increasingly large section of ordinary trade union activists and members will fight back. The TUC needs to show real resistance.
The general council of the TUC has met twice since the special budget day on 22 June. At both meetings Left unions have attempted to move the TUC into adopting a fighting programme against the cuts. Both the PCS and the RMT unions have separate resolutions on the TUC conference agenda demanding that the TUC call a national demo on 23 October (PCS) and an "immediate summit" of affiliates to "coordinate industrial action" (RMT).
So far the response of the TUC leadership has been muted, restricting itself to vague talk of "regional activities".
The lobby of the conference will have the clear aim of supporting the call by the Left unions for a national demo in the autumn as a prelude to a one day public sector strike.
It is almost as if there are two trade union movements in Britain. One where the right-wing union leaders mutter amongst themselves that there is no support for mass action. The other consists of a growing body of activists and ordinary trade union members who are desperate for a lead at national level.
Your class needs you!
The battle has already started at local level with anti-cuts campaigns springing up. The NSSN will do its best to organise this growing struggle nationally and at the same time organise to put the maximum pressure on the union leaders to act now.
There is very little time. Get your union to put on transport for the lobby. Distribute leaflets in work and among local groups.
If anti-cuts campaigns are developing in your area, inform everyone about this lobby Put it in your diary and make sure you are there! Your class needs you!
Come on the lobby of the TUC conference
Sunday 12 September 12noon,
Central Convention Centre, Manchester.
Organised by the National Shop Stewards Network
Contact the NSSN for more details and report what is happening in your area in support of the lobby.
In this issue
War and occupation
Workplace news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party events
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Review & Comment