Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/672/12096

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2011

Weak and unpopular coalition can be defeated

Members of the teachers' union NUT on the 26 March TUC demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon

Members of the teachers' union NUT on the 26 March TUC demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

When, on 26 March, over half a million took to the streets on a trade union demonstration against the cuts, Independent journalist Dominic Lawson sneered that more would be prepared to march in favour of the cuts. In the event at most a paltry 350 took to the streets to back the government's cuts.

As the unpopularity of the government's policies deepens and its supporters dwindle, the pressure is widening the splits in the Coalition. Tory MPs have even been describing their coalition partners as "yellow bastards" as they bicker over who will carry the odium of the hated Health and Social Care Bill. But despite the deepening tensions, the desire to cling to power is holding the Coalition together for now.

The government can be defeated but only if the anger shown on 26 March is harnessed around a clear fighting strategy. On 26 March the Socialist argued that, having marched together, now we need to strike together. We called for the next step to be a 24-hour public sector strike against the cuts and in defence of public sector pensions.

The first wave of coordinated strike action is now being prepared. It is an enormous step forward that the civil servants union, the PCS, voted almost unanimously, with only two votes against, to ballot for strike action on these issues (see below).

The NUT did the same at its conference at Easter. The UCU is also planning further action. The postal workers union, the CWU, has just voted unanimously to call on the TUC to coordinate a 24-hour general strike. CWU members in London have also voted overwhelmingly for strike action against management bullying and in defence of jobs.

30 June strike

On 30 June up to a million workers will take part in strike action against the government's attack on pensions. Across the country strikers will take part in demonstrations and rallies. Those demonstrations should be an immense show of strength.

Those workers whose unions are not taking strike action should do all they can to show their support by demonstrating. School and college students should demonstrate together with their teachers and lecturers.

Successful action on 30 June will be an important springboard for further action. As Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, put it: "Three quarters of a million on 30 June needs to be turned into four million in the autumn". Members of those public sector unions which are not yet planning strike action should organise a major campaign to demand their leaders act.

It is to be welcomed that Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, spoke at PCS conference. "We will build up to still broader action, if needs be, later in the year. To be absolutely clear, we will be balloting our members, coordinating our actions with yours and with other unions and building broad and effective community support to stop this government's agenda in its tracks." This now needs to be concretised.

Unison

The leadership of Unison is among the slowest to plan action to defend their members' interests. Socialists in Unison demand that their general secretary, Dave Prentis, immediately discusses with the general secretaries of those unions that are striking on 30 June to ensure Unison takes part in the second wave of coordinated strikes.

It is no coincidence that the unions building for strike action on 30 June are not affiliated to the Labour Party. On 26 March the unspoken strategy of many trade union leaders was to try and avoid further struggle, limiting themselves to 'march together today, vote Labour together tomorrow'.

Many of the demonstrators did go and vote Labour in the local elections on 5 May in order to punish the government, but understood doing so was not a strategy to stop the cuts.

In the aftermath of the elections council workers are being forced to initiate strike action to try to stop cuts - whether against Tory cuts in Southampton or Labour cuts in Lambeth. Unfortunately, the Unison leadership seem more willing to sanction ballots for branches in Tory local authorities than in Labour ones.

For those workers losing their jobs, however, the colour of the axe being wielded makes no difference at all. As Labour leader Ed Miliband made clear when he spoke to the demonstration on 26 March, New Labour also supports massive cuts in public services.

Miliband has now said he stands for "a better capitalism". But it is a crisis of capitalism which is responsible for families in Britain facing the biggest cut in their living conditions since 1977 and it is the markets - capitalism - which are demanding public services are destroyed.

Alongside an industrial battle to stop the cuts, the trade union movement also needs to build a socialist, political alternative to the three major parties of big business.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 May 2011:


What we think

Weak and unpopular coalition can be defeated


Anti-cuts campaigning

National shop stewards conference - Unite to stop the cuts

As the cost of living soars...: 'We are going to fight back'!

An offer we must refuse

Why Liverpool needs a needs budget

Showing an alternative to cuts in Dorset


Defending the NHS

Battling to defend the NHS

NHS demo in London needs to be a step towards united national strike action

Unison leaders failing to adopt the demands of health workers

Challenging Tories' plans to kill our health service


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: developing strategies for struggle

UCU facing battles on all fronts

Southampton city council workers strike

Three day strike to stop redundancies at Sheffield College

Firefighters discuss strategy to fight cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"

Atos Origin - profiting from pain

'Slutwalk' protests: Women reject sexism

Slave labour schemes must be resisted


Reviews and comments

Leadership failed print workers in vital battle

Review: The street that cut everything


Socialist Party news and analysis

McNulty's railway report: not 'value for money'!

Care homes privatisation hits the elderly

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Eyewitness report: Mass youth protests in Spain

Ireland: 'Reclaim the unions'

Greece: Resist bosses' agenda and the far right


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 May 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Cuts:

triangleSocialists and campaigners protest Leicester NHS cuts

triangleReading council plans privatisation - set a no-cuts budget instead!

Union:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Ed Miliband:

triangleFight for a socialist Brexit

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/9/18

Labour Party

Blairites must go

19/9/18

Student

Mobilise mass student fightback

19/9/18

Housing

250,000 families in "non-decent" homes

19/9/18

EU

The fog of Brexit

19/9/18

What we saw

What we saw

19/9/18

Rail

Rail rip-off reversal

19/9/18

Momentum

Momentum's 'The World Transformed' blocks discussion on Liverpool council struggle

19/9/18

Labour Party

The struggle to transform Labour

18/9/18

Drug companies

Big drugs companies dodge 3 billion pounds in tax

13/9/18

PCS

PCS: the real issues at stake - a reply to Socialist View

12/9/18

Labour Party

Corbyn must lead in fight against the Blairites

12/9/18

Capitalism

Fearful bosses call for 'fairer capitalism'...

12/9/18

Food

4m children in homes that can't afford fruit and veg

12/9/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

12/9/18

Academies

School students in solitary: for full funding, not exclusion!

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999