Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/877/21685
Action gets results
Strike together to Kill the Bill
John McInally, PCS civil servants' union vice president (personal capacity)
The trade union bill being rushed through Parliament aims at removing any effective opposition to the Tories' austerity agenda by placing huge obstacles to organising legal strike action. It also amounts to state-sponsored blacklisting and criminalisation of union activity.
The Tories fear the potential power of the six million-strong trade union movement, the biggest democratic force in society. With effective fighting leadership, it would be capable of uniting working and middle class people against the Tories' destruction of our public services.
More than anything the Tories fear strike action, the most effective weapon we have to defend our interests. This assault reflects their concern that the trade union movement could mobilise and lead the anti-austerity movement.
This bill is not separate from all the other attacks against our class. Public sector-wide coordinated strike action would be the best and most effective response against the public sector pay freeze and the bill.
In 2011 millions of public sector workers glimpsed their collective strength only to see it squandered by leaders in a deal that sold their pension rights.
Union leaders should not be some kind of diplomatic corps shuttling between the government and their members, concession bargaining away jobs, services, conditions and our rights. This bill must be opposed in its entirety; there can be no last minute 'concessions' from the Tories that could justify a line of it it becoming law.
Union leaderships who have fought back have been singled out - the Tories have tried to smash PCS through a whole range of attacks including withdrawal of the check-off system. But they failed and our union is emerging even stronger. Campaigning works and action gets results.
This was demonstrated by the achievement of National Gallery strikers who saw their jobs privatised but won the London living wage, guarantees on terms and conditions and the reinstatement of their sacked rep.
If the TUC and union leaders had organised effective collective action against cuts and privatisation then the Tories wouldn't have the confidence to table the legislation at all.
United action can defeat austerity and can make this legislation unworkable if it passes through parliament - if there is effective determined leadership across the movement and not just in individual unions.
Protest the final reading of the Tory's anti-trade union bill
6pm Tuesday 10 November Parliament Square
In The Socialist 4 November 2015:
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