Monday, December 02, 2013
Solidarity (and picket practice)
I'm looking forward to being part of a branch contingent joining our nearest Higher Education picket line tomorrow morning, and wish luck to all those who will be supporting the second day of cross-union (UNISON, UNITE and UCU) national strike action against the 1% pay offer in that sector.
It's the second day of strike action in a campaign of discontinuous action which indicates the seriousness of the unions' leaders and members. If the leaders are serious about securing a real shift in the employers' position at the commencement of action, the call for a second day demonstrates that the campaign is about more than simply token action. In heeding the call the members then show that they are serious about achieving a just outcome.
Tomorrow is a vitally important day not just for all workers in higher education, but for all trade unionists. The joint action in this sector is an (as yet regrettably isolated) example of the co-ordinated action for which delegates from all our unions keep calling at the TUC. The outcome of this campaign has implications for us all.
For UNISON activists in local government, support for our brothers and sisters in Higher Education is also an excellent opportunity to practice picketing, ahead of the strike action which will be essential if we are to secure a meaningful pay rise in 2014.