Sunday, 17 July 2011

Plans for further co-ordinated strikes laid in Cornwall

Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance met on Wednesday 13 July to discuss the way forward for the anti-cuts and trade union movements in Cornwall after the 30 June strikes, the march and the rally on Lemon Quay in Cornwall.

Trudy Winterburn, branch secretary of the Cornwall, Devon and Somerset branch of the PCS spoke about how around 75% of workers in the relevant civil service workplaces are in the PCS union and yet 80% of workers went on strike on 30 June. Clearly this means some of those not in the union nevertheless went on strike. She also told the meeting that there were picket lines in most places and a very high turnout on the march and rally.

The meeting agreed that it was the best action the group has organised so far and has given the group a greater respect and credibility within the trade union movement in Cornwall.

There was then a dicussion about a resolution committing Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance to campaign within the trade union movement to get more unions involved with co-ordinated strike action, to get as many unions as possible to 'name the day' of the next one day general strike and to begin building the action now. It also resolved to get strikers to speak at union branch meetings of unions that have not yet taken strike action. The text of the motion is below.
This meeting notes:

1. The Con-Dem government is determined to slash pensions, cut jobs and break up and privatise the welfare state.

2. There has been a growing tide of resistance to the government. Last year tens of thousands of students marched and occupied their colleges against education cuts. That was followed by the biggest trade union demonstration the country has ever seen on 26 March.

3. The magnificent co-ordinated strikes on 30 June by members of the ATL, NUT, PCS and UCU.

4. Dave Prentis, the leader of Britain’s biggest union, Unison, argued for long-term, targeted industrial action which would “break the pay freeze, stop the jobs cull and send the coalition packing”.

5. Some unions are talking about calling a further one-day co-ordinated strike in the autumn.



This meeting believes:

1. The June 30 strikes were a major step forward for the trade union movement but we are going to need more and bigger strikes if we are going to beat the government’s cuts.

2. It is imperative that every union is encouraged to join the next joint action.

3. That although sectional and rolling strikes can have a place in the struggles against the cuts, our union movement is at its most powerful when we are marching and striking together.



This meeting resolves:

1. To campaign to get trade unions in Cornwall, starting with our affiliates, to support the call for a one day strike or appropriate industrial action in the autumn, to the name the day as soon as possible and to begin the process of campaigning and building for it now, starting with passing this motion at the next branch meeting or other appropriate meeting.

2. To campaign for trade unionists that were on strike on 30 June to be invited to meetings of unions that were not on strike to help spread solidarity and confidence.
There was a discussion about the protest called by Right to Work outside the Tory Party Conference on 2 October in Manchester. The question was raised as to whether the group might be able to send a coach of people from Cornwall with funding from the trade unions. Many felt this was an important protest for the group to get involved in although some had concerns that the cost of the coach might be better spent on local activity given the difficult state of the group's finances. Others felt that sending people to the demonstration might help to stimulate local activity. No definite decision was reached but Trudy agreed to contact the PCS, NUT and other trade unions about funding.

Finally there was a discussion about the founding meeting of Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts scheduled for 27 July. It was agreed that organisers would not be too prescriptive but allow the attendees to decide how the group should operate and what should be its priorities. A call would go out to members to see if anyone that has any interest in disabilty issues might like to attend.

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