17 June 2014
Waltham Forest Unite the Resistance held a public meeting supported by Waltham Forest and Redbridge Trades Council, on 11 June, to build for the national pay strikes.
An impressive line up of speakers included Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU, Phillipa Harvey from the NUT executive, Janet Maiden (pc) from the UNISON Health Executive, Glenroy Watson from the RMT and Lambeth college strikers.
Matt Wrack mocked Boris’s plans to cut fire stations and fire engines while spending money on water cannons. He emphasised the need to build rank and file organisation in every workplace to build the strikes.
Lambeth college strikers gave a moving account of their fight to save the right to further education and to defend their pay and conditions. They were given a standing ovation.
The speakers further described the Tory attacks on pay, pensions, services and conditions and emphasised the need for a unified fightback. The Labour Party was criticised for failing to stand up to austerity and support the strikes.
An important point was made that we also need to stand up against the Tories attacks to scapegoat migrants and we were asked to imagine a London without migrants – no NHS, no London Transport…
The audience of 45 local trade unionists included Alex Kenny from the NUT Executive, alongside teachers, civil servants, council and construction workers.
Dave Knight the Waltham Forest Unison Branch Secretary spoke about the importance of getting a Yes vote in the ballot for the 10 July strike, and mentioned the leafleting he had done of council offices supported by Unite the Resistance activists.
Other speakers reiterated this but also talked about the need to ensure that action doesn’t end on 10 July, but continues into the autumn.
Speakers from the floor also emphasised the need to stand up against the demonisation of the poor and migrants, with a call for people to come to the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) conference and support the Stand Up to UKIP Campaign. It was also announced that a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) group would be set up in Walthamstow.
The meeting ended with a collection for the Lambeth strikers (£145 was raised) and a call for everyone to build for the the 10 July and to join the Peoples Assembly March on Saturday 21 June.