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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Rob Williams, NSSN national chair
Build a 24-hour general strike - TUC name the day, photo  Socialist Party

Build a 24-hour general strike - TUC name the day, photo Socialist Party

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has spent the last few months helping to build for the TUC demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Belfast.

We lobbied the TUC conference last month for the unions to follow up the 20 October mobilisations with a 24-hour general strike to defeat the Con-Dems' austerity offensive.

The motion from the POA prison officers' union was passed at the TUC conference calling for coordinated action, including the consideration of a general strike.

Since then, we have produced a model motion backing up this decision which has been taken to shop stewards' committees, union branches and trades councils and debated and passed by many of these. Some examples are below. This will continue after the demonstrations.

The government's Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill sits alongside the attack on PCS facility time agreement as a serious turn in the Con-Dems' assault on our unions.

It is further evidence that if they are not stopped, this weak and divided government will stagger on, inflicting ever more hardships on our class.

This Bill merely reinforces the urgency for this and emphasises that whatever happens on Saturday, it's a new stage of the struggle not the end of the campaign against austerity.

On Saturday, the NSSN will be giving out tens of thousands of our leaflets and thousands of our placards calling for this action. We'll also be distributing our new NHS bulletin, the second we've produced.

The NSSN is organising meetings and conferences around the country after Saturday on this theme and others, such as defending the NHS.

Have a great day protesting against this government of the fat cats and their attempt to make us pay for the bankers' crisis.

But please pick up our leaflet. Better still pick up a handful for your work colleagues or trade union branch.

Come to one of our meetings and take the model motion to your next union meeting and keep the pressure up on the union leaders.

March together on 20 October... then strike together to stop the Con-Dem cuts!


PCS on strike on 30 June 2011 in Coventry, photo Coventry Socialist Party

PCS on strike on 30 June 2011 in Coventry, photo Coventry Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Coventry District Unison supports the call for a general strike and calls for the date to be named. A motion discussed and passed unanimously at the latest branch committee meeting welcomes the TUC decision to look at the practicalities of organising a 24-hour general strike, to launch a discussion among our membership and urges our NEC to call on the TUC to name a date for coordinated action.

We also agreed that the motion will be sent to our regional council, NEC members and Coventry TUC.

Our activists, like many others across the country, put huge amounts of work into making the pensions strike on 30 November a success.

Many stewards were disappointed that further action was not called, and that the union pulled out of the pensions fight.

No one should be under any illusions that the TUC, and Unison, will just call a 24-hour general strike.

They will need to be pressured. Unison activists need to discuss how there can be genuine membership control over any future action and how our union can be turned into a democratic, fighting union.

With councils, including Coventry city council, to announce their budgets for 2013/14 in the next few weeks and months, the move of Unison, GMB and Unite in Glasgow to call on councillors to refuse to implement the cuts and to look at ways of resisting, should be discussed widely.


From the motion carried by Bucks health Unison:

The horrendous situation facing working people in Greece could be our future if we don't stop the Con-Dem attacks...

We urge all members, friends and families to come to the TUC demo on 20 October, and that this day is seen as the beginning of a new stage of action.

We urge all unions participating in the demo to follow up with a further coordinated 24-hour national strike of both public and private sector workers, making direct calls to youth and students, the unemployed, and community campaigns to join in.

We, therefore, agree that the branch committee will send this motion to all stewards and trades councils to organise discussions on the issue and organise a local meeting to discuss how to progress these ideas put forward by the PCS and POA at the TUC conference this year.

We will send this motion for discussion at regional meetings of Unison in the South East.

We request that Unison's national executive discuss this motion and work together with other unions to find the most appropriate way to coordinate the biggest possible joint strike.

This is so that we can defeat these cuts and pose the alternative vision of society we hold.

Unite housing workers

Decent homes - Housing protest, photo Paul Mattsson

Decent homes - Housing protest, photo Paul Mattsson

The Unite Housing Workers branch passed a version of the NSSN resolution which included:

"We note that the NUT executive has agreed to meet with other unions to explore ways of advancing the practicalities of general strike action and call on Unite executive to use the size and authority of our union to lend maximum support to such initiatives."

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest protest, one of many protests outside Labour-run councils who pass Con-Dem austerity measures. , photo Senan

Waltham Forest protest, one of many protests outside Labour-run councils who pass Con-Dem austerity measures. , photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

The Waltham Forest Health Unison branch committee based at Whipps Cross hospital in east London met on 10 October and considered a motion calling on the TUC to name the date for a 24-hour general strike involving public and private sectors, as soon as possible after the demo on 20 October.

This follows the successful lobby of the TUC conference on 9 September, which 19 Whipps Cross workers attended.

The attacks on NHS workers' national agreements was a major influence in the committee supporting the idea of naming the date for a general strike.


At the last meeting of Stevenage TUC a motion was passed unanimously calling on the general council to name the day for a strike.

Following reports from the NSSN Lobby of the TUC and a meeting where Alex Gordon, RMT president, spoke in Welwyn Garden City, it was clear that the TUC has to act, coordinating all trade unions in both public and private sectors in a one-day strike.

Every delegate at the meeting spoke in favour of such action.

The NSSN model resolution was passed and will be sent to the County Association of Trades Councils and in turn to the South East Region of the TUC (SERTUC) to be put before the general council of the TUC.

National Shop Stewards Network meetings


Bristol NSSN and Bristol Socialist Party: Tuesday 23 October, 7.30pm, Cheltenham Road Library, Bristol BS6 5OX


South West NSSN public meeting, Saturday 27 October, 12-4pm, Great Western Hotel, Station Road, Swindon


Wednesday 24 October, 7.30pm, Reading International Solidarity Centre, room 1, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS


Wales Shop Stewards Network meeting, Wednesday 24 October, 7.30pm, Tower Room, Twyn Community Centre, CF83 1JL


Midlands NSSN conference, Saturday 17 November, 12-4pm, Unite offices, 211 Broad Street B15 1AY.

Speakers (personal capacity): Joe Simpson, POA assistant general secretary, Lee Barron, CWU midlands regional secretary, Kevin Greenway, PCS national executive, Dave Auger, Unison, Nick Harrison, FBU, Linda Taaffe, NSSN national secretary


London NSSN public meeting, Wednesday 24 October, 7pm, ULU, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY

Speakers include: Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, Steve Hedley, RMT assistant general secretary, Suzanne Muna, Unite housing branch secretary


Scotland NSSN conference, Saturday 27 October, 11am-4pm, Glasgow Unison offices, 84 Bell Street.


Yorkshire and Humber NSSN conference, Saturday 24 November, 10am-4pm Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, Leeds LS1 4AE


North West NSSN public meeting, Saturday 27 October, 1-3pm, Town Hall Tavern (upstairs), 20 Tib Lane, Manchester City Centre M2 4JA

Speakers include: Steve Acheson, Unite construction national industrial sector committee and Sparks rank and file and Alex Davidson, PCS North West vice-chair

Model resolution for a 24-hour general strike

For trade union and anti-cuts organisations. When this is passed, please tell the Socialist:

This [body] welcomes the overwhelming vote at this year's TUC Congress in support of the POA motion. It called for the unions to take "coordinated action where possible with far-reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike."

We are alarmed that a relentless barrage of even more austerity cuts is coming down the line, and will continue into the foreseeable future.

Millions of workers, young people, the sick and disabled people face a lifetime of severe hardship through cuts to pay, conditions, benefits and services - the horrendous situation facing people in Greece could be our future if we don't stop the Con-Dem attacks.

We believe austerity cuts must be stopped, and that the labour movement has the potential to force a massive U-turn from this Coalition government of the rich, if our trade unions were to organise action decisively together.

We urge all members, friends and families to come to the TUC demo on 20 October. Let's campaign so this day is seen as the beginning of a new stage of action.

We urge all unions participating in the demo to follow up with a further coordinated 24-hour national strike of both public and private sector workers, making direct calls to youth and students, the unemployed, and community campaigns to join in.

We, therefore, agree that this branch will organise a local/regional meeting to discuss how to progress these ideas put forward by the PCS and POA at the TUC.

We also call on the national executive of our union to call on the TUC general council to urgently meet to name the date for the biggest possible coordinated strike.

For material backing a 24-hour strike, including petitions and leaflets, please see the NSSN website.

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:

Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration

Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012

Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87

Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October

International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!

Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


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