World Politics

What Next?

June 30—Big Pension Strikes Rocks Tory/Liberal Democratic Coalition

By Graham Durham 

Marches and rallies in 20 cities and towns—from Newcastle to Exeter and Manchester to Brighton—showed the massive support for strike action on June 30 against government plans to force workers to pay more, receive less and work longer to get pensions. In London 30,000 joined a march and rally past Parliament.

Four trade unions representing over 700,000 workers—the PCS (Public and Commercial Service Union) and three education unions the NUT (National Union of Teachers) and ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) and UCU (University and College Union) joined together in the biggest strike action yet against the Tory/Liberal Democratic government.

Socialist Viewpoint spoke to Zita Holbourne, National Executive PCS and co-chair of BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against The Cuts) regarding the next steps.

“This was the best strike ever in the history of PCS with members joining the union to take part and everything from museums to courts and police support staff affected. Hundreds of schools were shut and support from service users and parents has been very strong.

“The PCS is writing to Labor party leader Ed Miliband regarding his disgraceful comments that people should not be on strike. However our union is pressing for the TUC (Trades Union Congress) to call a one-day public service strike in the autumn. It seems clear that the largest union, UNISON (The Public Service Trade Union) and, hopefully, the GMB (Britain’s General Union) are prepared to work together to build on this strike action.

“In a separate but linked initiative BARAC is seeking to mobilize the Black community, who are hardest hit by all the job cuts and service reductions. We have a national network of groups and held our first rally in north London with over 300 hundred attending.”

—July 16, 2011