Monday, January 03, 2011

Marching together but striking separately?

This is set to be the toughest year for UNISON activists since the formation of the Union in 1993.

If you have a few moments online and have not yet signed up to UNISON's Million voices campaign you should. Not because simple online petitions will of themselves take us very far, but because we need to support every official action in opposition to cuts if we are to broaden and deepen the necessary opposition.

That is why it is vitally important that we maximise turnout on the TUC demonstration on 26 March. We must march together in our hundreds of thousands, mobilising members who have never been on a demonstration in their lives, and never expected to.

In the mean time, cuts and job losses will be biting in local government in particular - and Kirklees UNISON are showing the rest of us how to respond. We must do what we can to generalise and coordinate every element of a fight back against the Coalition Government's ideological assault upon our Welfare State. However, resistance to cuts and job losses will inevitably be patchy and uneven. Local fights may win some local concessions but they won't be able to turn the tide of Government policy.

Because of the limits upon strike action imposed by the anti-union laws, our best chance of effective unified action forcing a climbdown from the Government would be to fight to defend our pensions. The sooner we mobilise our strength as a unified national trade union movement the better our chance of forcing the Government back.

At the risk of being considered a trot I should point out that the slogan "March Separately but Strike Together!" is probably a better slogan than "March Together but Strike Separately"...

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