Mass Strike Special Celebratory Issue
N30: BIRTH OF OUR POWER City and County of Swansea
Millions Strike for our Future
Picture: 1500 local government workers, teachers, NHS workers, civil servants, lecturers and others rallied in Castle Square after a country-wide mass strike to defend our pensions. delegation of firefighters who were not on strike who came to support and want to be with us the next time. Above all it showcased our power - the streets and workplaces were quiet. Whatever the Tories might claim in public, they know that this action rocked the government like no other. Some politicians have tried to play down our strike by dismissing it as a mere “day of protest”. But it was more than a protest — it
was a strike on a scale not seen for generations. Strikes are the most powerful weapon that we possess. They express our collective strength. On Wednesday it didn’t matter if you were a teacher or a cook, if you were in one union or another, everyone was on the same side. Most of us on strike on November 30th will never have seen action on this scale before. For my generation Thatcher stole my milk, now Cameron's
stealing my pension. We need further action to force the Tories to back down. When we strike society grinds to a halt, when politicians and bosses don’t go to work, hardly anyone notices. The Tories are terrified of us getting a taste for this collective power. They will go to any lengths to stop us taking action, including using the law to make it even harder to strike. But 30 November has been a historic day that has created a different
mood amongst our members. If the Tories don't improve their offer we can and must escalate the action and keep up the momentum of our resistance. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The Tories want to smash everything that we have fought for over many decades. Today we face a choice. We can either bend down to accept cuts and poverty, or we can resist.
❝ The 30 November strike was a fantastic experience in many ways especially for the 1500 union members from all union's that marched and rallied in Castle Square. To be applauded by shoppers and the public as we marched was marvellous. The atmosphere was a strong and celebratory show of our trade union power. There was teachers, nurses, lecturers, road-sweepers all together. There was even a
UNISON picket, November 30th 2011
'Thatcher stole my milk, now Cameron steals my pension' Public Service Not Private Profit
0 +++Exete +++Crewe 150 +++Doncaster 2,000 +++Dundee 10,000 +++Edinburgh 15,00 0 +++Blackburn 2, +++Aberdeen 7,000 +++Barrow-in-Furness 500 +++Birmingham 20,00 1,500 +++Cambridge 4,0 +++Brighton 3,500 +++Bristol 20,000 +++Burnley 200 +++Bury
All Out to Win ❝ Today you made history. Every single UNISON member supporting the day of action has played their part in this fantastic day. UNISON members - mostly women, many low-paid and many taking strike action for the first time ever - stood up and said, with quiet resolve: enough is enough. Our members work every day of every year to provide the services our communities rely on. Many work behind the scenes in schools, hospitals, town halls, libraries and a thousand other workplaces unseen by the media and politicians. But today they made their presence felt and their voices heard throughout the UK. They told politicians that they would not stand by and see their pensions attacked and undermined and they would not be made to pay for the crisis caused by speculators and bankers. A great day for UNISON and my proudest day as your general secretary.
Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary November 30th was a historic day and was Britain’s biggest strike since 1926. It saw the working class march firmly on to centre stage of the political arena. Over two and half million struck. It dealt the biggest blow yet to the government’s attempt to make us pay for the economic crisis. Towns and cities across the country saw huge rallies that
brought public sector workers together to defy the cuts. Over half a million marched — including some 10,000 in Dundee, 20,000 in Bristol and 50,000 in London. The TUC said there had been 1000 demonstrations across the UK. Picket lines were solid, well attended, and full of good spirit and determination. From gravediggers to chiropodists, the people who keep our essential services going stepped out to resist the attacks on our pensions and the wider cuts. The mainstream media didn’t know quite how to react. It spent weeks ignoring or writing off the prospect of strikes. Then it switched to denunciations of strikers, followed by desperate attempts to down-play the whole day by claiming a low turnout, or that strikers just went shopping.
But the reality of the picket lines, marches and rallies told a different story. In every town and city there was a tremendous sense of solidarity as people came together against a hated tory-led government. For nurses, road-sweepers, lecturers, teachers, office workers and social workers - to name just a few - to unite together in strike action is unprecedented. After decades in the wilderness, N30 signals the return of mass working class resistance in Britain. The strike demonstrates the enormous power that the organised trade union movement has. Union after union delivered thumping votes for action. This was the biggest strike of women workers ever seen in Britain.
What next? See back page
+++Lincoln 1 +++Hull 3,000 +++Lancaster 1,200 +++Leeds 10,000 +++Leicester 7,000 xford 5,000 +++ +++Manchester 30,000 +++Newcastle 10,000 +++Oldham 1,000 +++O 2,000 +++Wolverham +++Swindon 1,000 +++Telford 500 +++Truro 3,000 +++Wakefield
er 5,000 +++Glasgow 25,000 +++Halifax 500 +++Huddersifeld 2,000 ,000 +++Bolton 1,500 +++Bournemouth 2,000 +++Bradford 4,000 000 +++Cardiff 5,000 +++Chester 1,000 +++Coventry 3,000
Oxford A great range of photos of November 30th can be found at the links below:
http://j.mp/N30Wales http://righttowork.org.uk/2011/11/pictures-from-n30/ http://www.unison.org.uk/n30/photogallery.asp
,000 +++Liverpool 20,000 +++London 50,000 +++Luton 600 +Portsmouth 2,000 +++Preston 2,500 +++Sheffield 6,000 +++Stoke 500 mpton 2,000 +++Worthing 700 +++York 2,500 PLUS MANY MORE
petrol on a fire. The government is digging its heels in, so we have to dig ours in as well. The strike wasn’t just about expressing our opinion. We are not just a stage army to be used to get 5p extra in negotiations and settle by the end of the year.
Where next after N30?
The Tories were shaken by the mass strikes on November 30th but have not backed down yet. Tory chancellor Osborne used the day before our strike to announce a cut to our pay and an increase in our retirement age - again. Public sector workers who are already suffering a two-year pay freeze will see increases 'capped’ at 1 percent. With inflation running at 5.4 percent, this is effectively a 20 percent pay cut over four years.
it takes” to cut the deficit. Apparently, what it takes is to throw money at the bosses and the bankers—and take it from the rest of us. Every spiteful announcement means huge cuts in living standards for millions of workers. Tax credits have been frozen, except for working tax credit which has been moved to the lower CPI rate of inflation. An increase in child tax credits has been cancelled. Osborne also announced plans to attack regional pay adjustments, Tupe employment transfer rights and working hours.
the unions fighting together. It was that unity that gave many trade unionists the confidence to come out and strike, many for the first time.
We need a discussion in every workplace about the way forward but the strategy we have must match the seriousness of the task. Otherwise members of all unions will as why they are losing pay for a strategy that will not win. We have to strike again, escalate and pull more unions in. This battle can’t be left in the hands of There are some in a few trade union leaders or the TUC. the trade union We need to support every strike to movement and the stop cuts and defend jobs. And we TUC who would also need to name the date for the accept a shoddy next united strike day and take the compromise. We struggle forward. also cannot rely on a change of government to make things better David Miliband might have said he does not want to ‘demonise the dinner lady’ on strike in Parliament, but he walked through a picket line to say it and does not support our strikes.
The stakes are extremely high and the outcome will influence our lives for years to come. We have to be in this for a serious fight. We are all worried about losing money with Osborne also brought forward his more strikes, but we know that if the planned increase in the pension age. Tories win they want to freeze our Workers set to retire after 2026 will UNISON will obviously continue to pay for years and a lot more besides. now have to work until 67. And he negotiate, but Osborne’s statement It really is a situation of can we afford announced that, instead of slashing show there is little chance for any not to strike? 400,000 public sector jobs, he’d qualitatively improved offer this side destroy 710,000. of more action. It will also only fuel the One of the great benefits of N30 is Osborne said he would do “whatever anger against the Tories like pouring that everyone is really committed to Members will be aware of the 90-day notice given by the Authority over terms and condition and Single Status. UNISON is currently in negotiation in this time-scale and will be organising a series of branch wide meetings to update all members early in the New Year.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our members
Unison Office The Guildhall Swansea SA1 4PE 01792 635271
Joint Branch Secretaries: Nicky Symons & Mike Davies Unison has over 100 trained union reps throughout the council, schools and FE colleges. We will advise, support and represent you collectively and individually on issues from sickness, discipliners to legal matters inside and outside the workplace. If you need advice or representation please contact the Senior Steward(s) for your department below or go to your workplace steward. Alternatively please contact the branch office. Environment Ian Alexander - 07584 505793 Tony Dearden - 07971 121533 Pat Lopez - 07584 505792 Social Services Alison Bell - 07941 757853 Bill Williams - 07557 560092 Resources Gareth Parry - 07584 341240
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This newsletter is produced by the City and County of Swansea Unison Branch. Any letters, comments or suggestions for articles should be posted to the branch address or emailed to Unison@swansea.gov.uk. Correspondence is not guaranteed to be published and contents may not necessarily reflect Unison policy.