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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2010

TUC: Build for action against cuts

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference 2010, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference 2010, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The first day of the TUC opened with reports of the congress as the main item on the breakfast news, showing footage of the National Shop Stewards Network lobby as the backdrop.

Greg Maughan

The congress is taking place during the most serious attacks on the working class in Britain this side of world war two.

There is a weight of responsibility on the leadership of the trade union movement to do what their name suggests and give a lead in fighting these cuts. But also to arm our class with the political arguments against the cuts.

It was therefore disappointing when Brendan Barber stated in his opening address that cuts were "too fast and too deep". The implication here is that he would be in favour of cuts if the pace was slower.

Much better were the arguments put forward by the left trade union leaders in the debate on the composite motion on public sector cuts.

NSSN lobby of TUC, Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, CWU, firmly laid the blame for the economic crisis on the bankers -

NSSN lobby of TUC, Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, CWU, firmly laid the blame for the economic crisis on the bankers - "It is not public sector workers that caused this crisis", photo Dave Beale   (Click to enlarge)

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka explained how the cuts would affect all working class people. "The divide is not public sector versus private sector, it is the haves versus the have nots... We cannot accept one penny of cuts or one job lost."

This is the stance that the trade union movement needs to take and was backed by other speakers. Bob Crow of the RMT explained how "all of the gains that were made in society have been on the basis of the trade union movement pursuing them." Bob talked about the solid strike action that members in the RMT and the TSSA took on London Underground last week and said: "It would be madness not to coordinate action" when unions were in dispute.

Matt Wrack of the FBU condemned the government and the media for trying to "shift the blame for the economic crisis from bankers onto public sector workers."

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference 2010, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference 2010, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

A composite motion was passed overwhelmingly which commits the TUC to both coordinating industrial action and organising a national demonstration against the cuts.

Speaking in the afternoon session, Janice Godrich of the PCS underlined the importance of this commitment to a national demonstration and stated: "It is now up to us to build for it and build confidence amongst workers."

The commitments in the composite motion against public sector cuts are important. It is now down to activists in the ranks of the trade union movement to hold their leaders to their word and make sure that a mass national demonstration takes place as soon as possible and industrial action against the cuts is built for and coordinated.

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In The Socialist 15 September 2010:

Join the fight against cuts

Socialist Party editorial

Decisive action can defeat this government

TUC congress

TUC backs youth jobs demo

TUC told to name the day

TUC: Build for action against cuts

Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the 'slippery slope' to two-tier education

How will the Browne Review into university funding affect you?

Student strikes can win results

Feature: Socialist Party women

Women and the struggle against oppression

Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

Privatisation's giant wrecking ball

Fight the jobs cuts massacre

Middlesborough local union-led public services alliance set up

Fast news

General strike in France

Osborne targets the needy

Labour councillors challenged in Hastings

Shropshire: showing socialist alternative gets results

Socialist Party workplace news

London Underground: Action biting against job cuts

UCU executive pulls out of strike ballot

Fight for jobs at GSK

Workplace news in brief

Anti-cuts campaign

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Hull park rangers protest

How do we vote to stop the cuts?

Nottinghamshire: Campaign saves vital service

Lobbies warn councils of workers' action

Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: How can we save the environment?

International socialist news and analysis

All-India general strike: Eyewitness report from Chennai

Fighting oppression in Kazakhstan

Socialist Party review

The Third Man


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