London tube strike 1.3.22, Northfields picket line, photo NSSN
London tube strike 1.3.22, Northfields picket line, photo NSSN

Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network chair

It’s never been more necessary for the trade unions to give a fighting lead. Workers are facing the biggest squeeze on their living standards for generations.

The cost of living is going through the roof with real inflation heading towards double figures. Yet the bosses and their Tory government want to make us pay the price.

Boris Johnson is continuing to hold down public sector pay, while turning a blind eye to the brutal illegal sackings by P&O on the back of the vicious employers’ ‘fire and rehire’ offensive.

Two years of Covid have shown that workers are the key force in society. We have had to get organised to keep workplaces safe and resist the bosses’ attacks.

Many workers have been prepared to take action and have forced companies to concede significant wage rises. Other important victories have been won, such as the Manchester bus workers and at Barts NHS Trust in London.

But the dispute at P&O shows that with the bosses’ profits at stake, they will use brutal measures against us. Disgracefully, Coventry Labour council has spent millions trying to break the bin strike (see pages 2 and 3).

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) was initiated by transport union RMT under its late, great general secretary Bob Crow in 2006. We continue to build solidarity and support for unions and their members taking action. We have always argued that mass united action can push back the Tories and bosses.

In March 2011, 750,000 union members marched through the streets of London on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) demonstration against the austerity offensive of the Tory-led government. It led directly to the two million-strong public sector general strike that November on pensions.

We welcome that the TUC has finally called the ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’ demo on 18 June. We will help build what needs to be a massive mobilisation that could be the platform for industrial action across the public and private sector.

2 July will be the 15th national NSSN conference, and as usual will be a vital forum for union reps and members, along with anti-cuts campaigners, to come together to talk about their struggles and discuss out the strategy, tactics and programme needed for the fight of our lives.

We’re pleased to announce that Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has agreed to speak at the conference

2022 NSSN conference

  • Saturday 2 July
  • 11am-4.30pm
  • Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL