Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/687/12849
Mass strikes can kick out Con-Dems
Get ready for 30 November
Rob Williams, chair, National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)
On 30 November, two to three million public sector workers will be on strike to defend their pensions. More workers will be out than on the first day of the 1926 general strike.
The NSSN is proud of the role that it's played in paving the way. On 11 September we lobbied the TUC Congress and held a rally under the slogan of a 24-hour public sector general strike. Over 700 shop stewards and trade unionists listened to leading union speakers such as Mark Serwotka of the PCS and Bob Crow of the RMT.
This government of millionaires can be defeated by coordinated strike action. Millions of workers striking together can stop the Con-Dems in their tracks. And if one day is not enough to force a u-turn, we must prepare for a two-day strike as the next stage of the escalating action.
In all the workplace meetings, shop stewards' committees and union branch committees, the message has to be hammered home that workers shouldn't pay the price for the bankers' crisis.
Workers have shown their determination to fight at every opportunity they've been given this year. Over 500,000 marched against the cuts in London on 26 March and over 750,000 civil servants, teachers and lecturers went on strike against the pension attacks on 30 June.
But the first job for 30 November is to win the strike ballots with an overwhelming vote. Meetings have to be organised in every workplace. Where there is more than one union, these could be joint meetings. Members of the PCS, NUT, UCU and ATL unions who were out on 30 June and have live strike mandates should be invited to speak. This can give confidence to the many workers who haven't been on strike before.
These can be supplemented by public meetings and rallies in towns and cities and on estates to draw in other working class people - young people and all those who suffer from and oppose the cuts, including private sector workers who also face job losses and pay and pension cuts.
The NSSN encourages all private sector workers involved in current disputes to consider coordinating their industrial action with the strike on 30 November. As Mark Serwotka said at the NSSN rally on 11 September: "Low-paid workers in the private sector are exploited by shareholders and executives, not by fellow low-paid workers in the public sector."
A victory for public sector workers on pensions, by forcing a retreat or even the downfall of this government, would raise the confidence to fight back.
What you can do:
- If your union is balloting, you could organise a workplace meeting, if applicable jointly with other unions. This should form the basis for democratic control of the strike
- You could organise a public meeting in your town or city with the unions in dispute or trades council, anti-cuts campaign or NSSN. Explain the need to prepare for further action if necessary
- Plan a demonstration in your town or city on the day of the strike
- All united - invite private sector workers, young people, unemployed, pensioners, etc to any public meetings, rallies and demonstrations
In The Socialist 28 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Jarrow march for jobs
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