Sunday, 11 December 2011

After millions of public sector workers strike – what’s comes next?

Since last week’s strike of over two million trade unionists against pensions ‘reform’ when half-a-million took to the streets in towns and cities across the country, opposition to government cuts is on a scale not seen for generations. In Southwark, the strike involved picket lines across the borough and a rally and demonstration at the Elephant & Castle.

Why not organise a meeting at work?

Perhaps you could show people the photos and movies from the strike day, distribute the Rally statement (below) which was agreed by 200 people at the rally on 30 November, and discuss with your workmates what should be the next steps in the campaign.


Trade unionists and their supporters from across Southwark are today showing their determination to fight against the government’s attack on public sector pensions. The strength of support for our action today is fuelled by the lies pedalled by ministers trying to convince people that their offer is a ‘fair’ one. There is nothing ‘fair’ about:

•    using our increased pension contributions to pay for an economic crisis we did not create.
•    an ‘offer’ that would result in a typical public sector worker having to work three lifetimes to earn the same pension as Tory minister Francis Maude.
•    allowing the leaders of the top 100 FTSE companies to get  a 49% pay rise last year while our pay is frozen, or falling.
•    attempting to cut public sector workers’ pensions in the pretence that it will somehow improve the private pensions schemes that have been systematically devalued or abandoned by employers in past years.

Thousands of local people are taking action today in the context of government policies that have systematically attacked the welfare state, that threaten impoverishment for millions on low incomes, created mass unemployment, and imprison people who protest against these measures. Just as the student movement last year, the recent Occupy movement, and action by workers across Europe, America and the Middle East have each inspired new groups to challenge their Governments’ priorities, we do not see today’s strike as the  end – but as the beginning.

We declare our intention to go back to our workplaces to:

-    Discuss with our fellow trade union members what is action is needed by ourselves and our union leaders to ensure we defend our pensions and our living standards. We need a national timetable for concerted action across the whole trade union movement that beginning within days or weeks, not months.

-    Argue with non-union members why they should join a trade union, and ensure every section of the workplace has an elected representative; unions should aim to collaborate and meet together both within every workplace and at borough-level to maximise the impact of our collective action.

-    Make links with people in our local communities, with groups that are campaigning against cuts and austerity and with workers in the private sector to ensure we are not ‘divided-and-ruled’ by the government or the media.

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