Support grows for united strike action against cuts

  Working people are facing a future of cuts and falling living standards. The new Assembly and Executive have taken over from where the last left off. As we go to press, the exact cuts the main parties are planning remain shrouded in secrecy but it is clear that savage attacks are just around the corner. This is happening against the background of the fact that the Northern Ireland economy remains in recession. The private sector here has now been shrinking for 41 months in a row. New car sales fell 19% year on year in April. The housing market remains in the doldrums – few houses are being sold and prices have fallen by over 40% from their peak in 2007.


Attacks on public sector workers and the services they provide will ensure the economy remains in recession. Despite this, those implementing the cuts tell us that there is no alternative. And everyone blames someone else. Cameron and Clegg blame the cuts on the last government. The Executive blames the Westminster government and claims it has no alternative to implementing the cuts. The main parties in the Assembly blame each other.

The reality is that the cuts are not necessary and they can be stopped. The trade unions have the power to stop the Conservative/Lib-Dem government and the Northern Ireland Executive in their tracks. Working class people are angry and already struggles in defence of services have broken out in a number of places like amongst medical secretaries and college lecturers.

Now a number of unions have decided to move towards more determined and widespread action, including strike action. On June 30th   a number of education unions and the PCS civil service union are taking joint action on pensions and cuts. The giant Unite union, which organises in both the private and public sector, and the PCS have agreed a united approach to oppose the cuts. Other unions, such as the RMT transport union and the Communication Workers Union have backed a one-day public sector strike against cuts.

In Northern Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is discussing the idea of a day of action involving all the unions. This is positive as until now the trade union leaders in Northern Ireland have largely accepted the arguments of the Assembly parties and have concentrated on lobbying rather than resisting.

We cannot predict exactly when mass movements against the cuts will develop and on what issues. We can say that it will happen and when it does it is likely to be fierce given the scale of the cuts. The movement against student fees at the end of 2010 is a sign of things to come. So too is the situation in Spain where tens of thousands of workers and young people are occupying squares in towns and cities all over the country in a protest against cuts and unemployment.

When struggles break out working class people instinctively seek unity – between workplaces, across trade unions and across communities and the sectarian divide. The Stop the Cuts Campaign is seeking to build unity, bringing together trade union activists and community campaigners to discuss the way forward, to unite in common activity and common action.

Generalised and united action can succeed. The unions must name the day for a one day general strike of all workers in the North as the first step in a serious campaign to win. Get in touch now with the Stop the Cuts Campaign if you are angry about the cuts and want to play your role in the fight back.


Previous Article

NIPSA: Fighting strategy needed for members

Next Article

Who will gain from a cut in corporation tax?

Related Posts

Greece – Hundreds of thousands join public sector strike against savage austerity plans

EU ‘rescue’ comes with ruthless “stringent conditions – workers’ mass resistance must continue!

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers took strike action in Greece, on Wednesday 10 February, in an impressive show of strength against the social democratic PASOK government’s draconian social cuts package.

An estimated 75% of public sector workers took part, rising to 90% amongst bigger concentrations of workers in the state sector. Two demonstrations by trade unionists and workers were also held in Athens, despite heavy rain, with a total of around 15,000, which are big demonstrations compared to similar protests in recent years, particularly given the bad weather conditions.

Postal service will be destroyed by privatisation

The Socialist Party today condemned the decision of the Business Secretary Vince Cable to privatise Royal Mail. This move to create a new private company to handle sorting and deliveries will devastate a vital service for the general public and destroy terms and conditions for the workforce.

Socialist Party MEP opposes privatisation of postal services across Europe
Report from European postal workers’ meeting co-hosted by Joe Higgins MEP - Click here to read more

UPDATE- Venue of picket against health cuts changed!

New Location: Knockbracken Health Care Park, Saintfield Road
9.30am, Thursday 25th March

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has changed the location of Thursday's meeting of the Executive Board at the last minute from Knockbreda to Knockbracken Health Care Park. The Socialist Party has organised a picket outside the meeting to highlight and oppose the cuts being implemented by the board, and a petition will be delivered to the Chief Executive.