Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16145
PCS branch supports 24-hour general strike call
Tony Mulhearn addressed a 120-strong meeting of the Cheshire branch of the PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) on 13 February.
He emphasised the attacks being made on civil servants, including the erosion of wages, pensions and union facility time, all under attack while the wealth of the Con-Dems' friends continues to spiral upwards.
He linked these attacks to the privatisation of the NHS, closure of libraries, demonisation of the disabled and the unemployed, giving examples of appalling acts of callousness for which this government is now noted.
He told the meeting that workers' share of wealth in Britain has declined by some 20% in the last 30 years, while the wealth of the top 1% has increased by a corresponding amount.
He posed the question sharply that if there was a general election tomorrow and Labour were elected, they would continue with Con-Dem policies, with the exception of secondary issues like restoring a 10p rate of tax.
Welcome as that would be, without a challenge to the basic neoliberal character of capitalism and without the repeal of the anti-trade union laws of which New Labour was so proud, it would make little difference to workers' wages and conditions. He linked this with the call for the establishment of a new mass workers' party.
He called for maximum support for the call for a 24-hour general strike, that is presently under consideration by the TUC.
His speech was met with prolonged applause, with women who had 20 to 30 years' service commenting that he spoke 'common sense' and it was a pity that thousands weren't there to listen to the alternative policy.
The meeting voted unanimously to support PCS policy of support for a 24-hour general strike and unanimously for the PCS's call for strike action in defence of wages and conditions.
A Socialist Party industrial correspondant
- 250,000 PCS members across the civil service are also voting in a national industrial action ballot over cuts to pay, pensions and terms and conditions. That ballot closes on 4 March.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 15 February 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.