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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 August 2013

Stop cuts - Demand united action

NSSN lobby of the TUC Congress, Brighton, 2012

NSSN lobby of the TUC Congress, Brighton, 2012   (Click to enlarge)

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Martin Powell-Davies, Member of the NUT teachers' union executive

I might be a physics teacher but it doesn't take rocket science to work out why the trade union movement needs to start taking united strike action. The Coalition is pushing ahead with vicious cuts, privatisation of services and attacks on our pay, pensions, rights and conditions. It's high time that they were stopped.

There is a force that can do this - trade unions taking united strike action, backed up with support from the communities whose jobs and services we are struggling to defend.

Trade unions are strongest when we act together. It's about time that we did so. That's the message that the lobby of the Trades Union Congress being organised by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) will be taking to TUC delegates in Bournemouth on Sunday 8 September.

A number of trade unions are already battling in important local or national disputes. FBU members have been balloting on industrial action to defend firefighters' pensions.

The CWU have agreed to hold a national ballot of Royal Mail workers against privatisation. UCU members in higher education are considering action over pay. PCS is consulting members across the civil service on the next stage of its campaign of industrial action.

Teachers' action

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)

Teachers will be leading the way this autumn. A solid strike of both NUT and NASUWT members closed schools right across the North West region in June. Now members of both unions in the rest of England and Wales will take part in one of two further days of regional strikes in September and October. That will be followed by a day's joint national strike action in November.

Teachers have no choice but to take action. From September, the government is imposing divisive performance-pay arrangements that will allow school management to pick and choose who gets a pay-rise - and who doesn't. It's a scheme designed to cut the pay bill and to force teachers to work even longer hours. In the New Year, they're planning to announce more attacks on working conditions.

There are other important events for trade unionists to support in September - not least to build a mass demonstration in Manchester outside the Tory party conference on 29 September to call a halt to the destruction of the NHS by this government in the interests of their big business backers.

However, demonstrations alone will not be enough. We need to call on the TUC to organise strike action coordinated right across our movement, a 24-hour general strike.

Some trade union leaders will continue to prevaricate but that makes it even more important that those who are up for the fight make plans for coordinated strike action.

The NUT and NASUWT have already pencilled in a date for national action in November. Let's make it a day of coordinated national strike action that can start to push this government back at last.

NSSN logo

Lobby the TUC

All out together in November

Sunday 8 September

12.30 Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5AH (opposite the TUC conference venue)

Protest at the Tory Conference

SAVE OUR NHS •Defend Jobs and Services • No to Austerity

Manchester March and Rally - Sunday 29 September

Assemble at Liverpool Road, M3 4FP, 11am
Marching to a rally in Whitworth Park

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In The Socialist 28 August 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop cuts - Demand united action

Lobbying bill: don't let this Tory dream come true

The trial of Chelsea Manning

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

No to imperialist intervention in Syria

Egypt: al-Sisi's military tightens its grip on power

Socialist Party feature

"I have a dream" - 50th anniversary of march

'Youth Fight for Jobs' campaigning

Unionise to fight zero-hour contracts!

Nothing new at Sports Direct

Socialist Party workplace news

One Housing Group workers go into battle again

Unison: Tiny margin against Scottish local government strike

Coventry postal workers fight bullying management

The role of a workers' rep

Workplace In Brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fighting mood at meeting to defend Whipps Cross Hospital

Wales' Mid-Staffs crisis

Support the DPAC week of action

Carlisle - Building the anti-bedroom tax fightback

Arrest Cuadrilla bosses - not fracking protesters!

Socialist Party camp

Socialist Party reviews

Film review: Elysium - an 'allegory for class warfare'

Exhibition review: Lowry's one track vision


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