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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 June 2014

10 July public sector strike: United action can beat austerity

Part of the 2011 N30 London demo, photo Senan

Part of the 2011 N30 London demo, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Semple, PCS union, recently elected on the work and pensions group executive committee

Trade union members want action on the most basic demand of all: pay.

Since the onset of the economic crisis, the living standards of ordinary people have plummeted by an average of 15%. Tory Chancellor George Osborne tells us there is a recovery, but workers in the public or private sector are not feeling it.

A measly 1% pay rise for public sector workers is still a pay cut when inflation is at 2% and more. Meanwhile, the price of necessary goods has risen by 33% since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007.

10 July (J10) is the date being discussed by sections of Unite, Unison in local government, the NUT and the PCS for a joint strike on pay.

Members from the PCS, which organises civil service workers, meeting recently at our Annual Delegate Conference in Brighton, were very clear that we want action.

I'm sure the mood among other public sector workers is the same - that they will be prepared to enter into a determined struggle if they see their leaderships willing to organise it, as the PCS leaders are, and to press on until victory is achieved.

The 1% cap is a policy that is being applied across the public sector - except to MPs! It is central to the government's austerity policies. Workers must be united in taking them on.

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) is holding its eighth annual conference in London's Conway Hall on 5 July. I will be attending this event and I urge all fellow reps and trade union brothers and sisters to do likewise.

The NSSN has been consistent in its demand for joint action and for a one-day general strike against austerity. It has been a repository of rank-and-file activism, which helped bring about the N30 strike of two million workers in 2011.

As well as reports from the labour movement, such as the Fast Food Rights campaign, we will discuss how to ensure the success of any J10 strike.

J10 must be the beginning of a concerted campaign ready to go the distance against the Con-Dems and whichever pro-austerity government follows it - the NSSN will play a role in ensuring that.

National Shop Stewards Network eighth annual conference

11am-5pm, Saturday 5 July, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL - Delegate/visitor fee 6 -

Confirmed speakers include a $15 Won! Seattle minimum wage campaigner, RMT president Peter Pinkney, Ronnie Draper BFAWU general secretary, POA general secretary Steve Gillan and Janice Godrich PCS president

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 11 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: Private profit kills

Newark byelection: capitalist parties in crisis

'Trojan Horse': who is attacking education?

World Cup carnival can't hide corruption and injustice

Them & Us


Tiananmen Square 1989

The battle of Orgreave

International socialist news and analysis

Spain: European elections redefine political map

Greece: CWI councillors elected

Socialist Party workplace news

10 July: United action can beat austerity

Bakers' union calls for general strike

Unison: No waiting for Labour - fight the job cuts

Housing workers strike against rep suspension

Firefighters to walk out for 24-hours

Care UK workers continue dispute

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Now is the time to join the Socialists!

Why I'm a socialist

Stevenage: EDL not welcome here

Cuts consensus: Labour joins with Ukip to back Tory council

Readers' comments and reviews

Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall

Obituary: George Duff


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Related links:

Public sector:

trianglePCS elections: Support socialist candidates

triangleProbation privatisation failure

trianglePCS: Vote Yes to strike for better pay

triangleTrade union action to end low pay now!

triangleHarrowing accounts of austerity at Unison women's conference


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National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleSupport Clive Walder

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trianglePacked meeting of workplace militants, strikers, socialists and trade union leaders

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