February 1 was an important step in building the union resistance. Although it could have been bigger, it showed the still huge response from many workers when given a chance to fight back.
Sunak however still clings to power by his fingertips. He has led on a toxic right-wing culture war, particularly against trans people and refugee rights. He can quite easily be kicked out of office with a general strike. But this will mean serious discussion on strategy to win across our whole movement, and how to use this opportunity to boldly go on the offensive.
For coordinated action to be as effective as possible, all unions with live disputes should be taking part. On 1 Feb there was a missed opportunity with RCN and Unison Health not joining the action.
This is why going into our next round of national coordinated action from a position of strength will have to mean a clear plan of coordination and escalation, both at the top and at the grass roots of the unions. The TUC should do this, but we need to prepare the ground ourselves. We can’t be waiting forever!
Democratic conferences of workplace reps and stewards could be convened to push this forward, both within and between unions. Cross-union strike committees in towns and cities could deal with the business of a plan of local escalation and mass recruitment into our movement and pile on the pressure coming out of 15 March. Mass workplace meetings should be convened to openly discuss the contents of offers made and to have the final say over decisions of if and whether to suspend action.
All unions with live disputes should now prepare the ground by naming the date for a general strike, the sooner the better. This would allow for national and regional demonstrations and rounds of rolling action in the run up. Even if only for 24 hours, it would serve as a powerful example of what the workers movement can do.
Unions must stand with trans people and refugees
The horrifying murder of trans teenager Brianna Ghey, as well as the ramping up of attacks on refugees by the Tories and far-right shows the need to mobilise to stamp out the poison of racism and transphobia. This hasn’t happened in a vacuum. The Tories have fanned the flames of the ‘culture war’ at a time where they are weak and falling apart. They want to cut across the mood of solidarity and working-class unity seen on the picket lines. We need to respond by linking the strike wave with the fight against all forms of oppression.
This was why Socialist Feminist Alternative was organising on International Women’s Day for socialist feminist action against the Tories, sexism, harassment and the system which breeds them. Socialist Alternative members in the unions have written a model motion which has now been passed in 10 union branches saying our movement must take up the fight for trans rights.
Change the system – for socialist change!
Socialist Alternative fights for a fundamentally different sort of society. Rather than under this system – capitalism – where profits and competition drive climate catastrophe, war and low wages, our alternative is one based on internationalism, solidarity and planning based on the needs of working class people.
We stand for the nationalisation and democratic workers control of rail, mail and health, as well as the banks and the giant corporations which dominate the economy. We are part of International Socialist Alternative – standing with workers striking back across the world, from the US, to Brazil, to South Africa and Palestine/Israel and beyond.
- Build cross union strike committees in every town and city. Coordinate, escalate and broaden the action!
- Nationalise mail, rail utilities and the banks. No to privatisation and outsourcing in the NHS. Make the super-rich pay!
- No to the Tories’ divide and rule agenda! For united struggle against all attacks on refugees, trans people and striking workers.