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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 February 2018

Workers strike back!

Coordinate the struggles

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Mick Whale, Hull Trade Union Council

Faced with a fresh series of attacks from the Tories and their friends in big business, workers are striking back up and down the country.

National strikes by lecturers and rail workers are ongoing. And local struggles are on the rise, like the mini-strike wave in Manchester.

In Hull, the national strikes are joined by striking recycling workers, and disputes brewing in construction and the local council.

UCU

University lecturers in the UCU union have walked out against plans to cut their pensions by up to 40%.

They were supported on many campuses by their students, often organised by Socialist Students societies.

Students understand that high-quality teaching and experience depends on well-qualified, well-motivated lecturers. If the college bosses don't back down, lecturers will want to escalate the action.

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo by Gary Freeman

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo by Gary Freeman   (Click to enlarge)


RMT

Rail workers in the RMT union continue long-running strike action on lines across Britain against plans to scrap the safety-critical role of guards on trains.

This is a battle to maintain health and safety standards, protect passengers, and defend pay and jobs.

Pete March, secretary of Hull RMT, explained that last month a train split in half in Leeds station during rush hour and had to be evacuated. Without the presence of a guard, passenger safety would have been at serious risk.

Hull

In Hull, recycling workers employed by FCC Environment are also beginning a series of strikes to fight for the rights of all workers to equal sick pay. Tony Smith, shop steward, explained workers were solid and determined.

The bosses of FCC say they can't afford equal sick pay. But Madrid-based FCC Group reported 56.5 million profits in the first half of 2017 alone!

The FCC strike is significant because it is not a defensive strike, only defending existing conditions - as vital as those are.

Rather it is offensive, an attempt to win better conditions for a section of the workforce.

Already, GMB union steward Tony Graham has made it clear that no bin wagon driver will cross a picket line.

Other workers in Hull are balloting for industrial action, including housing officers at Hull City Council.

And local construction workers are also continuing protests against bosses' cynical attempt to use super-exploited foreign labour to undercut national union agreements on terms and conditions.

Socialist Party member Keith Gibson reported that Polish labourers queued up to join the union and the fight for equal treatment after he and other activists extended the message of trade union solidarity.

Confidence

All the attempts by the Tories and Blairites to intimidate, split and undermine the confidence of workers through the law have failed. There is a growing confidence that we can win.

In Hull, the trade union council is organising a rally and demonstration in support of all the workers striking locally. We will also be establishing a hardship fund to help support their actions.

The Trade Union Congress should be looking to coordinate action on a national scale. With the battle to defend the NHS as a priority, it should be linking up disputes across the public sector and beyond.

Striking together, workers can force out this divided and hated Tory government, and push Jeremy Corbyn into power on anti-austerity programme.


Note: reports and pics of the latest UCU strikes in HE and FE will be posted up soon

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 28 February 2018:


What we think

Corbyn's customs union dividing line: now stand firm for pro-worker Brexit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Save Our Square occupation: "This land is our land!"

Three major West Wales hospitals could close

Corbyn didn't collaborate with Stalinism - but with Trotskyists against it

Stormzy is right to slam Tories for Grenfell

KFC delivery crisis: make the bosses pay, not the workers!


International Women's Day

Resist the Tory war on women


Workplace news and analysis

Workers strike back!

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

University bosses rocked - strikes can save staff pensions!

Unite victory in EDF meter workers' union recognition fight


Labour

Corbynism shows 'Clause IV' still relevant a hundred years on


Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference highlights successful work

200 years of Marxism meeting


International socialist news and analysis

United States: young people demand change after latest mass shooting


Socialist Party campaigns

'Anti-austerity' Bristol Labour passes 34 million cuts budget

Newham: teaching workers and parents determined to halt academies

Building fund appeal: Behind the scenes at the Socialist Party office

Mary Jackson: funeral and memorial meeting

Union-led campaign beats Blairite attacks on homeless

Belper hospital threatened

Selling the Socialist in Stoke


Opinion

What's behind the surge in eating disorders?

The Socialist inbox

Socialist anti-war exhibition opens in Kingston


 

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