Last weekend around five hundred people attended a conference organised by the 'Unite the Resistance' rank and file trade union group. The conference discussed the government's austerity measures and resistance to them. There was a great deal of discussion around the public sector pensions dispute and how to get the programme of co-ordinated strike action that has stalled since 30 November last year, back on.
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS union spoke about the need, not just to get another mass, co-ordinated one day strike in autumn organised, but to ensure that it then led to another co-ordinated strike soon after. It is vital, he argued, that the momentum is not allowed to be dissipated by the trade union leaders of the big unions like Unite, Unison and GMB as they did last time. He also spoke of the need to stand candidates in election in conjunction with other left-of-labour groupings.
There were also speeches from socialist Labour MP John McDonnell, Jackie Turner from the BMA, Russ Ball from Coryton Oil refinery and many others.
However, the speech of the conference was given by Segundo Menendez Collar, a striking miner from the Asturias region in Spain. He spoke of how miners there have been on indefinite strike for over a month at the government's plan to destroy the mining industry. They have used many methods, he said, including demonstrations, strikes and rocket launchers. In a very moving and inspirational speech Segundo spoke of the need for solidarity across Europe and beyond. He said the fight must be fought across the whole working class with the same methods. The key, he said, was unity.