Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strike on N30. March on N30!

Having already played a leading role in the strike action on 30 June, which began to win the pensions argument against the Tory led Government, the National Union of Teachers were quick off the mark to support the call for action on 30 November, made by our General Secretary, Dave Prentis, at the TUC (http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/13857).

I was therefore pleased to learn today that the NUT will support a strike day demonstration through Central London on 30 November. This will make it inevitable that such a demonstration will have TUC backing, which is a good thing since a London demonstration will be a vital ingredient in maximising the impact of the first day of action in the pensions strike campaign of 2011/12.

With all due respect to comrades in other Regions (many of whom are rightly proud of higher union density and stronger union branches than we have in the south east), major demonstrations in Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham will lead regional news bulletins - but an impressive mobilisation in Central London on 30 November (of which we are more than capable) will help to capture national headlines (and magnify the media impact of local and regional mobilisations elsewhere).

We can't send every activist on a march on a strike day - some must keep picket lines going where this will be useful, and others must support lunchtime protests at hospitals by unions (like the Royal College of Nursing) who are not - yet - ready for a strike ballot.

However, if we are balloting 1.1 Million of our members with a view to winning this dispute (as I believe we are) then we have to show that, when it comes to campaigning and industrial action, UNISON can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Our members in London (local government at least) will certainly expect (and attend) a Central London demonstration on 30 November. This need not be counterposed to support for local ralles - particularly where this will draw in unions unable to ballot for action on the day.

However, there can be no doubt that there must be a significant London demonstration on 30 November, as there most certainly shall.

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