UNISON ‘ready to strike’ while Brown is bringing bosses into his cabinet


‘I SEND this message to Gordon Brown. We are prepared to fight. We are prepared to strike. And we are going to win,’ General Secretary Dave Prentis told delegates on the final day of the UNISON Annual Conference in Brighton yesterday.

Prentis made this declaration after the delegates had referred back a standing orders committee report that had ruled out of order eight resolutions on pay and organising coordinated action against the Brown government throughout the public sector.

The resolutions were ruled out because ‘they could place the union in legal jeopardy’ – ie the union might fall foul of the Tory and Labour anti-union laws.

The Standing Orders Committee was however forced by the delegates to allow a composite emergency resolution to be discussed and voted through yesterday, which led to the Prentis strike warning to Brown.

In other words, at the UNISON conference, the membership of the union, through its elected delegates, called the union leadership to order and forced it to take a stand in support of the right of the entire public sector to carry out coordinated strike action in defence of wages and jobs. The next step must be to remove and replace this leadership entirely.

In fact the public sector is due to erupt on June 29th, next Friday, when the Royal Mail and Post Office workers are taking a one-day national strike action.

They are facing a management and a government that are determined to privatise the industry, sack tens of thousands of workers and casualise the rest, smashing the CWU trade union in the process.

Immediately alongside the postal workers are the PCS civil servants. Brown intends to impose 100,000 redundancies on them and already the compulsory redundancies have started.

Just behind the civil service comes the whole of the public sector, the target for massive wage cuts and job cuts as the capitalist crisis deepens.

Brown has made no secret that he has really looked after the bosses in the last 10 years. While he has taxed the working class to the hilt, he has cut capital gains tax on the capitalists to 10 per cent allowing them to pocket tens and hundreds of millions in profits.

While supporting all of the Tory anti-union laws, he has delivered to big business, control over the Bank of England interest rates, and the lightest of light touch regulation of their businesses.

Now Brown is getting ready for the battle against the working class. He is going to strengthen his government after next Thursday by bringing into his cabinet non-Labour Party members, choosing them from the ranks of the business peers that Blair has created, and from the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

This is the type of government that will be taking on the postal workers and seeking to drive them back so that Brown can enjoy his first victory over a trade union to get his bosses regime off to a good start.

The new cabinet is set to collide with the first national postal workers strike for many years, it will be an anti-working class and anti-trade union cabinet from day one.

Not just the postal workers but the whole of the working class is eager to defend its NHS, its Welfare State and its wages and jobs and inflict a defeat on the Brown-Blair gang.

Its trade union leaders however have feet of clay and the most that will be got out of them are a few left words before they surrender, as they did in 1926 and as they did just a few months ago over the privatisation of NHS Logistics.

The working class must come to the aid of the postal workers.

Councils of Action must be formed in every area to mobilise the masses for a general strike to bring down the Brown government, and to go forward to a workers government that will carry out socialist policies to bring in socialism.

For this struggle to be victorious a new leadership must be built in the trade unions. Only the WRP is building this new leadership. Join it today.