Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Unity is strength - a tough nut to crack

The TUC has a paper policy of coordinating strike action against the Tory onslaught of austerity - and that means we should be working with all unions who are in dispute, whether it is over pay, pensions or privatisation. 

Ideally we would be out with teachers in schools, probation officers and firefighters, as well as support staff and lecturers in colleges and Uni. Local Government officers should be out alongside nurses and civil servants - we all face deep and damaging cuts.

In UNISON Higher Ed, with our sisters and brothers in UCU, Unite and EIS, our strategy has been to try to get as many unions with live disputes to coordinate action together.

So we called the 6th Feb strike day as part of a week of action: Local Government UNISON have called for a day of action on the 4th Feb - not strike action but their campaign may well lead to a ballot.

The RMT are also out on the 4th and 5th Feb In London over job cuts.

UCU and EIS will be out on 6th with UNISON in HE (Unite are still consulting on further action at this stage). 

Teaching union, the NUT, said in November 2013 after rolling regional action, that they would enter talks with Gove and at the latest would put on hold further strike action until the 13th Feb.  

The momentum that built up around the November 2011 pensions dispute did not happen overnight (see photo of June 2011). 

I believe we can still win our dispute if we seriously build stronger connections across all those TUC affiliated unions who realise that alone we cannot win our separate disputes but together our chances increase exponentially. 

So we've taken the plunge and called another day to restart the pay dispute: lets restart the momentum and begin to build some of the unity we so badly need to win our dispute over pay.  

The TUC policy of uniting and coordinating strike action needs to be made meaningful or last September will be remembered as just another month of posturing during conference season.

See you on picket lines, demos and rallies during a week of action in early Feb: lets start the year as we mean to go on - moving forward together. 

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