9 July 2014
Unite the Resistance press release… FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1.4 million to strike on 10 July: We’ll need more strikes to win
Today, 10 July, represents a beacon of hope for working class people everywhere. It marks the biggest coordinated resistance to the coalition’s austerity agenda since the 2011 public sector pensions strike. Today demonstrates the power unions have to take on this government’s drive to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor.
It is crucial action is escalated after today with strikes in September. Unite the Resistance national conference on 15 November will pull together activists and leaders from across the unions to discuss the way forward.
As 1.4 million workers—in local government, teachers, fire fighters and civil service workers—walk out over pay, they are providing a focus for all those sick of cuts, privatisation, low pay, and attacks on conditions and union rights. The strike offers an antidote to the politics of despair, the racism whipped up by the media, politicians and Ukip to divide working class people and distract from those who are really to blame—the rich, who continue to get away with avoiding their tax.
Jane Aitchison, Unite the Resistance joint national secretary and striking PCS member said:
“The Tories and their rich pals have got rich at our expense. The FTSE bosses had a 15 percent pay rise last year. We are striking for our share. It’s great to be back striking with other unions as we were in 2011. This time we are determined to stick together to win.”
The reality of Tory rule means the rich are getting richer while food banks, zero hours contracts and low pay are rampant. The number of billionaires in Britain has now doubled, despite the consensus across all the mainstream parties, unfortunately including Labour, telling us we all have to endure cuts. We cannot afford to wait for Labour. We need to see today’s strikes followed by more action, with dates named for strikes in the autumn. Unison leaders have already pointed to two potential strike days in September, and there have been indications from all major NHS unions that health members could join action in autumn. This must become a reality to win.
The Tories have also launched an ideological assault on claimants and migrants. But there are several examples showing that migrant workers are part of the solution, not the problem. Strikes by predominantly migrant workers at EalingHospital won a 16 percent pay rise, and action by SOAS migrant cleaners won significant concessions in their strike over conditions.
Unite the Resistance was set up in 2011 during the pensions dispute. It is a network of trade unionists from across the unions that aims to use that network to deliver real solidarity for those at the forefront of fighting back, as we did successfully during the militant Hovis strike in Wigan that defeated the introduction of zero hours contracts, as well as providing a space for workers to come together and debate and discuss the best way forward, a strategy to win.
We have held two conferences at a national level that each brought together over 1,000 people, as well as regional conferences and local forums. Unite the Resistance believes that the response from members every time action is called at a national level, the wave of inspiring and determined local disputes, and the incredible People’s Assembly demonstration of tens of thousands, all illustrate the power we have to win. We need escalation to increase the impact and mount the kind of strikes that can defeat the Tories over pay and austerity.
On 15 November, Unite the Resistance is holding its annual conference in London.
This will take place in the wake of mass public sector strikes, and the TUC’s ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’ national demonstration. The conference will bring together representatives of national unions to local disputes, to discuss the way forward. So far speakers include Ian Lawrence NAPO general secretary; Mandy Brown, UCU branch secretary Lambeth College, who has led the longest strike in the UCU’s history; Peter Pinkney RMT national president; Ian Hodson BFAWU bakers’ union national president; Jane Aitchison PCS DWP / Unite the Resistance national secretary.
Contact Unite the Resistance joint national secretaries:
Jane Aitchison 07949 244 380 / Sean Vernell 07951 803 776