Sunday 7 March 2010

SERTUC Public Services Conference success

The desire to build united opposition to public sector cuts was evident in the response to yesterday's meeting called by the SE Region of the TUC at Congress House.

Trade union delegates from across the public sector packed in to hear firstly from the economist Graham Turner. He pointed to the madness of cutting posts in HM Revenue and Customs while tax avoidance and tax evasion continued to bleed the economy of the funds needed for public services.

As I pointed out from the Chair, for some delegates it was still a 'phoney war' waiting for the cuts to come but for others the attacks are already very real. Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary, explained why their civil service members will be taking two days of strike action on Monday and Tuesday. Mark Campbell from the UCU Executive outlined the massive cuts that have been announced for post-16 education, in both FE and HE.

But the tone of discussion in both the plenary sessions and the workshops was not that these cuts were inevitable but that, together, we must organise to defend pay, pensions, jobs and services.

The joint demonstration to "defend the welfare state and public services" from Embankment to Trafalgar Square on Saturday April 10th was announced as an important date in the diary to build for.

Those of us on the SERTUC Public Services Committee will also be meeting later in March to discuss the campaigning proposals made on the day, including the suggestion that we hold another conference after the General Election to respond and prepare to the attacks that may soon be announced by an incoming Government.

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