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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 June 2014

As unions prepare united pay battle

Come to NSSN conference!

The NSSN in action protesting against blacklisting at a Crossrail site in London, photo Paul Mattsson

The NSSN in action protesting against blacklisting at a Crossrail site in London, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Linda Taaffe, Secretary, National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)

What has distinguished the NSSN from other broad campaigning organisations over the last few years has been its consistent agitation for the trade unions to organise national coordinated strike action as a serious strategy to fight back against austerity.

We have energetically organised demonstrations and lively rallies at the TUC; we have raised it at union meetings and in the course of workers' disputes; we gave utmost support to those unions who persuaded Congress in 2012 to overwhelmingly agree to coordinated action in principle - and we have kept up the campaign.

10 July strike

In the next few weeks it will become clear whether some unions will finally manage to get together to carry out the first coordinated strike since 2011 on 10 July.

The teachers in schools and colleges are lined up. Local government unions are in the process of deciding.

The public service workers of PCS, who have consistently argued for coordinated action, have a live dispute and could join in - possibly others too.

So, with the prospect of the log-jam of inaction being broken, what a great time to hold our annual NSSN Conference on 5 July! What a great time for trade unionists to come together to discuss how to get involved on the strike day, and how to build on this first step in forging a real fightback against ruthless big business parasites and their spokespeople in Parliament.

Also, it will be an opportunity to hear from rank-and-file fighters who have been conducting all kinds of struggles day in and day out, like against the scandalous blacklisting of construction workers, the fight of the Doncaster care workers, and others.

We will hear from the bakers' union about the fight for 10 an hour for the young people who work in bars and restaurants.

And it looks like we will have a representative from 15 Now in Seattle where they have just scored a marvellous victory on the city council for $15 an hour.

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative city councillor, together with the 15 Now campaign has shown that it is possible to carry on a fight for better wages on the streets and in the community.

Just because low-waged workers tend not to be union members does not mean they can't fight for better pay and conditions.

The Seattle victory has been a political battle that now needs to be made a reality by union action.

There will also be other opportunities in workshops to get answers to many of the big questions being raised by workers, including: why should we vote because no main party speaks for us?

The results of the local and European elections give much scope for discussion - can the marvellous 68,000 votes for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, despite the media blackout, be increased? Where is Ukip, with its daily media coverage, really going? Can Labour win, and if they do, will it make any difference to the looming cuts coming down the line?

There are some things that you really can't afford to miss. NSSN Conference on Saturday 5 July in London is one of those occasions.

Not only will it be a place to speak about all the pressing issues of the day, but it will also be a chance to socialise in the evening and make friends with others willing to struggle to make a better future. So don't delay. Book now!

National Shop Stewards Network conference

Saturday 5 July 11am-5pm in Conway Hall - 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL

Delegate/visitor fee 6.

Send your fee payable to: 'National Shop Stewards Network' at PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE.

online at: twitter: NSSN_anticuts e:

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In The Socialist 4 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers can win: Victory for $15 campaign in Seattle

Enough of 'all the same' capitalist politics!

TUSC: Next steps building political voice for workers

Inclusive capitalism? You're having a laugh!

Children handed poverty "life sentence"

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

US: How Seattle won a $15 minimum wage

Ireland: Electoral surge against austerity

Socialist Party workplace news

"Enough is enough!" - 1.5m could strike over pay

NHS: We demand a living wage!

Come to NSSN conference!

Unite conference: Fighting policies needed

UCU: Members losing patience with leadership

PCS-Unite merger: Will it strengthen our fightback?

Leeds unions prepare for action

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bakers' Union interview: "We can stop race to bottom"

Stevenage: March against the far-right, racist EDL

Rhydyfelin library occupied by protesters

Readers' comments

NHS: Night shift and a cold rage

Building the Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Plan now for the fundraising collectathon

'Join the socialists' week of action

Successful building in east London

Rapid recruitment in Plymouth


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