Friday, April 25, 2008

Yesterday and tomorrow

I haven’t had the chance to blog properly about this yet, having spent large chunks of today stuffing envelopes…

However, I have to say that yesterday’s strike action by members of the NUT, PCS and UCU unions was exhilarating.

Accompanied by my children, whose schools were closed for the day, I started out on a local demonstration of 400 strikers and supporters who marched from the Brixton site of Lambeth College, via the Town Hall, where the NUT were waiting, through the centre of Brixton.

From there we went to Lincoln’s Inn Fields to join the estimated 10,000 demonstrators who marched to Westminster, where less than a third of that number filled Central Hall to capacity.

I wish that everyone who doubts the confidence of our members to take strike action for fair pay could have heard thousands of teachers, lecturers and other public servants cheering the young teachers and lecturers – and the General Secretaries – who pledged to fight on for fair pay.

The case for a Central London rally and demonstration as part (only party) of a plan to focus media attention on strike action was also made quite unarguably – the evidence is here, here, here, here, here

A compelling case can be made against the Government’s public sector pay policy and against accepting below-inflation pay rises. Our members can be persuaded that this attack upon our living standards should be fought.

The debate must now turn to the strategy necessary to win this fight with the Government, starting with the campaign to reject unacceptable pay offers in health and local government.

How would it be if our next step was a two day strike involving, on either or both days, local government workers (north and south of the border), health workers, teachers, lecturers, civil servants? What if the decisions about the dispute were taken by the elected representatives of the strikers, cooperating across and between unions? Suppose we could make it clear to politicians that our continuing support for them was contingent upon their support for us?

These may be good questions. Now we need answers.

No comments: