YOUNG SOCIALISTS and trade unionists lobbied the TUC General Council yesterday morning to demand it call a general strike.
Young Socialists kept up chants of ‘Youth demand jobs, youth demand a future! TUC get off your knees, call a general strike! Defend the NHS, general strike now! Occupy hospitals facing closure, defend the NHS! Education must be free, we won’t pay tuition fees!’
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told YS lobbyists as she was going into Congress House: ‘We will be discussing the practicalities of a general strike.’
POA general secretary Steve Gillan told a rally outside the TUC: ‘Too often trade unions have held back because of anti-union legislation.
‘We’ve been banned from striking but our members have taken action.
‘We weren’t injuncted. We took national action in 2010 and 2007.
‘The reality is the trade unions have held back.
‘We have to challenge the anti-union laws, only the unions can do that.
‘We’ve taken the decision to discuss the practicalities of the general strike, it’s time to take the decision.’
YS National Secretary Joshua Ogunleye told the rally: ‘Everyone is opposed to this government and the crisis they have imposed on millions of people.
‘This has resulted in massive job losses and insecurity at work.
‘Families are also faced with greater challenges when it comes to paying their bills and putting food on the table.
‘What we are faced with is bringing down this government.
‘The TUC must call a general strike to bring them down.
‘25,000 people marched in Lewisham, 30,000 in Stafford, to defend their hospitals.
‘The NHS must be defended.
‘I was found not guilty yesterday after I was arrested at an occupation of Chase Farm hospital.
‘A protest strike is not sufficient, the TUC must call an indefinite general strike to get rid of this government and this crisis and put them in the dustbin of history.’
RMT general secretary Bob Crow told the rally: ‘Why are we having lawyers to tell us why we can’t have a general strike.
‘Our position is we have to name the day for a general strike, as a starting point, not just one day but day after day.’
RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley told News Line: ‘We’re lobbying the TUC to call a general strike.
‘We need to bring down this government and stop these austerity measures that attack the working class.
‘And send a message to the next Labour government when they come in we are not going to have it from them either.’