Opposition to cuts is gathering momentum. Last year the students showed how to fight raised tuition when they occupied Tory Party HQ. In Nottingham on November 20th, 2010, 1500 people took to the streets to protest against cuts from the local Tory County Council and Labour City Council. There is a growing outcry against corporate tax dodging from companies like Top Shop, Vodafone, Boots and Cadbury. In January and February 2011 there have been successful nationwide protests against tax dodging. More and more people are waking up to the connection between tax evasion and the cuts.
But to defeat the whole government programme, we need concerted action by the trade unions. In an economic crisis on this scale that is what trade unions are for, that is why workers build and sustain trade unions: so that when troubles come they have organisations strong and big enough to resist on the scale necessary.
Locally Unison members struck on February 24th and organised pickets and a County Hall rally against the cuts. Nationally, the UCU have already struck over pensions and the NUT, PCS and ATL are all about to ballot over the same issue. More unions need to follow the lead given by these unions, espcially over pensions which unites us all.
And let’s be clear, with millions of members, the trade unions are still well strong enough and big enough to resist these attacks - why else would the bosses be calling for new, tougher anti-union laws?
Although the TUC have been seriously lacklustre in their response to the threat of cuts we have seen the mass power of the labour movement on the streets of London with over half a million demonstrators telling the Tories we do not want their cuts. But the TUC must do more. March 26th should be the start of their mobilisations not the end.
Notts Save Our Services has shown how trade unions and community based campaigns can unite to defend jobs and services. This local unity must be strengthened and expanded but we need national unity in action to really make progress in this struggle.
Below , Notts Division Secretary, Liam Conway, speaking at the Unison rally on February 24th, gives his view about how the labour movement can mobilise to win