Defend jobs and public services

Mick Whale, Hull Socialist Party

Over the last year or so, up and down the country, Socialist Party members have stood in solidarity with strikers on picket lines. In Hull and the East Riding one question has been raised on every picket line and demonstration: “Why isn’t the TUC (Trades Union Congress) coordinating the strikes to make them more effective”?

When the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) called a lobby of the TUC conference in Liverpool, it was a no-brainer that we needed to be there to support it. Hull and District Trades Council voted unanimously to both support the lobby and send a coach.

The NSSN lobby is focusing on the need to coordinate a fightback against the latest Tory anti-trade union ‘minimum service level’ laws. If we don’t stop them, bosses will be able to decide who is allowed to strike and who has to go into work.

What hypocrites these Tories are! They have been happily cutting public services for the last decade and their cuts have forced dangerously low levels of care provision. The British Medical Association (BMA – which organises doctors) points out that over seven million people are now waiting for treatment. It is not strikes to blame for this mess, it is the Tories and their rotten system that puts profit before need.

The TUC has got to get its act together and organise a clear response to defend workers’ rights. TUC conference has to agree that a coordinated fightback be planned, publicised and organised. Such a strategy should include generalised strike action. The stakes are too high not to use strike action if the Tories try and implement their plans.

This lobby is a chance for grassroots union members to put pressure on union leaders to make a stand. Make sure you’re there on 10 September.

Why we are going on the lobby

Joyce Marshall, Hull and District Unity Shop coordinator and Unite activist    

“I am going because I see the devastation that this government has caused to working and unemployed people. Our food bank is doing the best it can but we need a change in government. The TUC has to play its role in pulling workers together to stop the Tories.”

Steve Scott, East Riding National Education Union

“It’s critical that we keep up the pressure on the TUC to ensure they perform the role they should in uniting workers against this government.”

Mike Hirst, Unite member

“My branch (Unite NEsec2) agreed to support the NSSN lobby. It will be good to hear Sharon Graham, our general secretary, speak at the rally. I hope the TUC will organise a campaign to stop the anti-trade union laws.”

Matt, NHS nurse in Unison, in a personal capacity

“The Tories are trying to use safe staffing levels against the trade unions but it is the trade unions that have fought and campaigned to stop the destruction of the NHS.  We must stand together to defend all public services and the organisations with the potential to do that  are the trade unions. I’m going to Liverpool on 10 September to make sure that message is taken on board by every delegate to the conference.”

  • To see the list of trade union bodies that are supporting the lobby of the TUC, and to add your branch or trades council, go to
  • 1pm, Sunday 10 September at Premier Meetings, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AD