The TUC today saw union leader after union leader declare that they are calling on their members to strike over pensions on 30 November. These include Unison, Unite, GMB, FBU, NUT, NASUWT, PCS, UCU, EIS, UCAC, NIPSA, Prospect and FDA. There was a unanimous vote for resistance. A strike by three million workers is now on the cards - which would be the biggest single day of action since the 1926 General Strike. Coming after the student revolt last year, the 26 March demonstration, and the 30 June strikes, there is a real momentum about the fightback.
Confrontation on a grand scale is coming much more quickly with David Cameron than it did with Margaret Thatcher, and this will be a critical struggle. It is a titanic clash between organised workers and a government hell-bent on ramming through a massive assault on workers’ living standards and public services. This is a battle over pensions, but also over every aspect of the Tory assault. And we can win if workers use all their strength against this rotten government.
This changes everything. Every socialist, trade unionist and anti-cuts activists must be part of making sure the strikes happen, that they are built as broadly as possible, and that they are fought through to victory. Everyone should celebrate the calling of this tremendous action, and work with those union leaders who want to fight. However, there must also be a push to strengthen the rank and file of the trade unions for the future, to win the idea of “all out, stay out” and to win.
The co-ordinated strikes must be item 1, 2 and 3 on the agenda of every anti-cuts group, and everyone must throw themselves into winning the ballots that will now take place, to mobilise trade unionists on a broad basis, and to argue for unity against the Tories. This will include mass propaganda, and distributing leafets both inside and from the outside of workplaces. There must be a push to involve students to be part of the day. There must be a renewed effort to build the Manchester demonstration at the Tory conference on 2 October.
In Cornwall, the re-formation of a Trades Council could not have come at a better time. There is a meeting to re-launch a Cornwall Trades Council. It is in a room at the Brittannia pub in the corner of Truro Bus depot on Lemon Quay in Truro on Monday 3 October from 6.30 - 7.30pm. All trade union stewards, reps and activists should come to the meeting to discuss the fightback. There may also need to be other joint meetings of stewards and reps from the striking unions to discuss mobilisation for the strikes and demonstrations in each area on the day. These meetings can then set up a coordinating committee to build the action.