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Fight cuts - defend workers' rights
Organise to strike back
Linda Taaffe, NSSN secretary
Within a week of the general election class battle lines were already being drawn; an anti-austerity demonstration outside Downing Street and in Cardiff, an electric mass march of youth in Bristol, and a threatened national Network Rail strike.
Workers are coming to the conclusion that they have to get together and defend themselves from the vicious cuts coming down the line from an arrogant Tory government cock-a-hoop at its unexpected victory. There is no honeymoon period for this parliamentary gang of bosses' representatives!
Two examples from London: almost 60 teachers in Waltham Forest packed a meeting to plan a strategy to get an upgrade in their pay to the inner London pay scale; in a Brent secondary school teachers turned out at a meeting in a big way to stop management piling on extra work.
It is now more urgent than ever to bring together those already in the fightback with those just taking their first steps.
At the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference on Saturday 4 July you will hear from some of the best trade union national and local leaders. But delegates and visitors have a major role in contributing their ideas about how they think the NSSN can best assist our potentially mighty unions into real action-mode.
On the one hand, we will need to fight back collectively to stop cuts decimating jobs and services; on the other, we must stop the Tories from hamstringing our unions with new legislation to jack-up the threshold turnout for strikes to 50% of members, when they attained their right to rule by a mere 24% of the total electorate.
The best means to stop this government is through our collective trade union strength. We want to add the 12 million non-unionised workers - including debt-laden graduates, young workers on below the minimum wage, parents on zero-hour contracts - to over six million already in unions.
The best way of drawing these new layers into our ranks is by the trade unions becoming a real beacon of resistance. NSSN says united national action is the best way to do that.
The major matter under discussion at this year's NSSN conference is what we, as an organising body, can do to help make that happen. In a union, or not yet in a union, come and be part of NSSN conference 2015!
National Shop Stewards Network 2015 conference
Saturday 4 July, 11am-4.30pm
Conway Hall, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
Confirmed speakers include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper and anti-blacklisting campaigner Dave Smith
In The Socialist 27 May 2015:
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