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The Socialist 11 June 2014 |
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10 July public sector strike: United action can beat austerity
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 - shopstewards.net
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
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place, as well as to order leaflets