|Download from the LANAC website via http://www.nutlan.org.uk/?q=node/84196|
Today nearly two million public sector workers will be taking strike action, among them the 300,000-plus members of the NUT.
While our support staff and other local government brothers and sisters are fighting for a decent pay rise in place of the paltry 1% offered by their employers, we are continuing to demand fair pensions, national pay entitlements for all and real measures to reduce workload.
Even though mid-July is not the perfect day for action in schools, it was absolutely right to co-ordinate our action with other and larger public sector unions.
July 10th means that workers, the public and the government will get just a glimpse of the potential power of the trade union movement. That experience can give huge confidence and hope to all of us. In LANAC we think that this hope can only be turned into reality if we draw the right lessons. Most important of all is the recognition that we can do more than just protest. We can win !
What needs to be done
We need to move away from occasional one-day protests and develop a plan of action that is designed to win. Days like July 10th and March 26th are inspiring and impressive but we are not on strike to put on a show for a day and then see things carry on just as grimly as before; we are serious trade unionists who aim to resist the attacks on our pay, pensions and conditions.
Workers win when they organise action that puts the employer on the spot. Trade union members respond better when they see a meaningful plan. LANAC says:
- Start planning for action in the Autumn now
- Campaign for co-ordination from the bottom-up. Local activists, secretaries and reps from the NUT should approach their counterparts in Unison, GMB and Unite to agree the most effective dates in September to continue this action and then argue together for this plan across their respective unions.
- Local strike committees of the relevant unions should be established cementing the links that have already been made in building today’s action.
- The National Executives of the unions in this strike should meet together to agree a co-ordinated campaign of action and public campaigning to defend the conditions and pay of public sector workers - and to defend public services from the effects of cuts, low morale and staff turnover.
- Teacher unity - the NUT rightly argues for one teacher union and has worked to keep the NASUWT involved in the campaign to defend pay, pensions and conditions. The refusal of the NASUWT leadership to be part of the strikes in March and July is, however, beyond our control. The most effective way to turn that refusal around is to build the kind of co-ordinated action they simply cannot ignore.
- Say yes to a plan of ongoing action. The NUT is planning to carry out a consultation across its whole membership at the beginning of next term about how to continue our campaign. This exercise could be used to help build for the action needed - but there will be some who want to interpret the responses as evidence that we should pull back from such a plan. Make sure that you and your colleagues respond and make clear that we have to do what is needed to win.