24 June 2011
More than 800 trade union activists turned out for the Unite the Resistance rally in London’s Friends Meeting House on Wednesday 22 June in the run-up to the public sector strikes on 30 June.
There were banners from the Unison, NUT, UCU, PCS, FBU, RMT, GMB and NUJ unions as well as campign and anti-cuts groups.
The audience heard speakers from a range of unions including NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney and Zita Holbourne from the PCS national executive.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil servants’ union, warned:
If the government gets away with cuts, we won’t recover for years. They are trying to divide us so we have less chance of winning. Our slogan should be ‘no to all cuts’. Nothing will transform the anti-cuts movement like mass strikes.
Mark Campbell, a lecturer at London Metropolitan University, who was on strike that day against cuts was loudy cheered when he said:
30 June is a start – but it’s just a start. We need millions out. That will be a general strike and that will bring this government down.
And Labour MP John McDonnell got a huge ovation for his speech warning that the government would face “civil disobedience” if it tried to ban strikes.
Many local activists also spoke about the importance of unity against the Tories’ attacks on public sector pensions and public services.