THE TUC Congress opened in Bournemouth yesterday, to calls from the Young Socialists lobby and delegates for a General Strike, to bring down the Coalition government and its austerity programme.
The Young Socialists marched to the Congress centre, chanting ‘TUC Get Off Your Knees, Call a General Strike. Right Now!’ and ‘No Zero-Hours contracts. TUC must act right now.’
Prison Officers Association National Chairman, Peter McParlin, told News Line, ‘Our motion last year, calling for discussion of the practicalities of a General Strike, is now owned by the TUC.
‘We’ve had all the talk necessary. Now it is necessary to set the date. Nothing has improved.
‘History will be very unkind on the trade union movement if we don’t have a General Strike.
‘We should stay out as long as is necessary, to gain our objective. That is a reversal of all the failings of this government’.
Ian Lawrence, the General Secretary of NAPO, said: ‘On the 17th of September, our national executives will receive a report about how we are going to enter into a trade dispute.
‘Seventy per cent of our work is being privatised by Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling.
‘NAPO are working with PCS, POA, Unison and GMB, to discuss coordinated industrial action within the justice sector.
‘NAPO will be supporting Motion 54 today from the RMT for the question of a General Strike to be kept on the agenda and intensified.’
UCU member Dave Smith, from the Blacklist Support Group, said: ‘Motion 57 is about blacklisting.
‘And the TUC is going to call a national day of action against blacklisting on November 20th.
‘It’s great that they are calling this action to defend a couple of thousand victimised activists.
‘But it’s necessary for them to call action for the millions of victims of austerity from this government.’
Barry McCall, Dublin NUJ, told News Line: ‘The British government’s policies are disastrous, and the TUC must move into action against them.’
John McCormack, President elect UCU, said: ‘We have just done a Freedom of Information study with all colleges and universities, and it has emerged that the use of Zero-hours contracts is extremely widespread.
‘The TUC and the Labour Party must wake up to this plague and take action against them and outlaw them.’
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘The fight to stop the closure of Chase Farm Hospital, is very important and I support it.’