General Strike On May 1 ‘Public Service Day’

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THE PCS civil servants trade union has confirmed that up to 270,000 civil servants will be stopping work on May 1 against the Blair-Brown government’s pay-cutting policies and its mass redundancy programme for civil servants.

At the request of the PCS, the TUC has given its support to the action and declared May 1 to be ‘Public Service Day’ for all the trade unions.

There is no doubt that the working class movement is ready for action.

The annual conference of the RCN nurses trade union passed an emergency motion last week condemning the government’s wage-cutting policy for nurses. It demanded that ‘the Independent Pay Review body recommendations are implemented in full by all governments’.

Another emergency resolution, passed with 97 per cent of delegates voting for, instructed the executive ‘to invoke rule 12 of the RCN charter and bye-laws and investigate what form of industrial action would be appropriate in relation to the pay offer’.

It is only of late that the RCN began to consider itself a trade union. Now they plan to take industrial action, a revolutionary development.

The teaching trade unions have already pressurised the School Teachers’ Review Body to ask the government for permission to look again at this September’s imposed pay settlement, now that the inflation rate has reached 4.8 per cent.

The government is expected to withhold permission, meaning that the teaching trade unions will have little alternative but to take industrial action. The teachers’ unions have already passed motions at their annual conference to coordinate strike ballots for action.

Meanwhile, CWU postal workers leaders have warned that strike action ‘very close to the scale of the miners’ strike, if not bigger is unavoidable’ unless management and the government withdraw their attacks on the jobs, wages and basic rights of workers across the postal service.

Yesterday, the UNISON health secretary, Karen Jennings, also spoke out.

She warned that strike action in the NHS ‘is certain’ unless the government makes an improved pay offer to health workers.

In fact, an emergency motion is to be put to the UNISON Health Conference, backed by the UNISON national executive which calls for a strike ballot if Brown refuses to drop his policy of wage cuts for the health sector.

She said yesterday morning: ‘I think a strike is certain if we can’t get the government to come back to the table and talk.’ The UNISON health conference is also poised to pass a number of resolutions condemning the Blair-Brown drive to privatise the NHS.

It is clear that the whole of the public sector is up in arms over the reactionary wage-cutting, privatising policies of the government.

The TUC has called Public Service Day on May 1 to give the PCS its support. The whole movement must now show its support by stopping work on May 1.

Factories, mines, the transport industry (buses, trains, planes and road haulage) must stop on that day to show that workers are prepared to take all the necessary measures to defend the NHS, the Royal Mail and state education from the privateers.

The whole movement must now come forward and create the conditions where the TUC has no alternative but to call a one-day general strike for May 1 and a massive one-million-strong demonstration through London on that day.

Any action on May1 must be a dress rehearsal for a full and indefinite general strike to save the NHS and the public sector by bringing down the Blair-Brown government.

It must bring in a workers’ government that will dump privatisation and wage cutting, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and carry out socialist policies.