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Scotland: potential to build a mass movement against cuts
A very positive meeting of anti-cuts campaigns and trade unionists took place in Glasgow on Saturday 6 November. The Defend Glasgow Services campaign had invited representatives from anti-cuts campaigns, trade union organisations and community campaigns to the meeting to discuss the setting up of a Scottish anti-cuts alliance/federation.
Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland
Anti-cuts campaigns were represented from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.
The PCS civil service union was represented and trade union branches also sent delegates including Dundee Unison local government and Tayside Healthcare Unison. Shop stewards and branch reps from the Unison, Unite and RMT unions were also there. Clydebank trades union council was in attendance as well as Youth Fight for Jobs.
Brian Smith, branch secretary of Glasgow City Unison and the Defend Glasgow Services campaign, emphasised the importance of building the movement based on "opposing all cuts in jobs, public services, pensions and welfare benefits while working to build mass trade union and community opposition to the cuts".
Reports were given from local campaigns on the scale and impact of the cuts and the campaigning already taking place which has included organising local demonstrations, lobbies of councils, public meetings and mass petitioning.
The hugely successful Scottish Trades Union Congress demonstration of over 20,000 people in October showed the potential to build a mass movement against the Con-Dem savagery. However, an organised campaign with clear aims and a fighting programme is necessary.
A number of contributions explained the importance of organised and coordinated strike action by trade unions. Glasgow Unison has tabled a resolution for the Scottish Unison conference in December calling for the building of a one day coordinated public sector wide strike.
Important discussions took place on demanding that councils do not make cuts and instead set 'needs budgets' that defend local services.
It was made clear that the involvement of elected politicians was welcomed as long as they pledged to oppose all cuts and vote against all cuts in budget meetings.
There was unanimous support for a resolution that asked for delegates to report back to their campaigns and trade unions with a view to establishing a Scotland wide anti-cuts alliance at a conference in January 2011. A steering committee was agreed, with one person from each campaign, which will help coordinate activity and prepare for the conference in January.
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