We could be about to see the largest days strike since November 2011 pension strike, when over 500,000 local government workers and school support staff in Unison could take action alongside local government members of GMB and Unite unions, and National Union of Teachers – the countries biggest teachers union. It is possible that others may join this including civil servants, and that this could give a boost for those in health at present consulting on potential action in the Autumn.
Of course we would have liked a higher yes vote that 59% and a higher turnout.
But the lessons of November 2011 are important. The failure of the one day protests over pensions to deliver real improvements to our pensions terms have made our members more cautious. Our members are wary of loosing pay for one day protests, which deliver nothing. And importantly the round of cuts along with a real term 20% pay cut since 2010 mean that many of our members realise that taking 3 or more days action will lead to real hardship, and some still need convincing we mean it, and we can win.
Our members know that the wealth exists and is in the wrong hands. They know that the cuts we face in local government are ideologically driven, destroying our services and unnecessary, but also that four years into this coalition they have not seen a conserted fightback from our movement. We might disagree with in our movement about why this hasnt happened until now, and we shouldnt shy from this discussion, but neither should we prevent us from taking this opportunity now to change things for the better, this will take hardwork and determination.
So for the first time since 2011 we have the opportunity to change this.
– build the biggest possible strike in your workplace and the biggest turn out on picket lines and protests
– demand that your local branch turns itself out to the members, with rank and file strike committees, and committing all its resources to raising the profile
– make links with other union branches for us in Unison this means GMB, UNITE, and teachers foremost but RMT, FBU, PCS and beyond.
– raise awareness of hardship fund and ask local trades councils, health branches, to donate towards this fund to make members know that hardship is not a reason to break the strike – in fact hardship is the reason TO STRIKE
– and start talking about activities over the summer, lunch time rallies, stalls and meetings to build future days action in September.
Our lesson from 2011 biggest strike action in 20 years was that we cannot allow ourselves to be “heros, just for one day”, but we have to use 10 July to re-start the class struggle, across local government, across education, across health and across the private sector too.
Also see here