Unite the Resistance

Radiographers and midwives join strikes

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The NHS unions have announced the next national strike date, Monday 24 November, for health workers across England. Unions taking part in the action are Unison, Unite, GMB, Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Society of Radiographers (SOR), UCATT, POA, British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT), British Dietetic Association (BDA), and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association.

This follows an announcement that health workers in Wales will strike on 10 November.

Peoples Assembly : what can it deliver?

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The People's Assembly will be a focus for many wanting to see a fightback. Charlie Kimber argues this is welcome, but we need to address the role of trade union leaders and the Labour Party if we are to build a movement that can break the government and its savage austerity programme

On 22 June, unless you have a very good excuse, you must be at the People's Assembly in London. Practically every trade union leader is scheduled to be in one room alongside hundreds of rank and file activists as well as people who have led campaigns against the bedroom tax, fought to defend the NHS and headed up the revolt by disabled people.

Mind the gap!

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The period since the mass strike on 30 November 2011 has been one of huge frustration for many trade union activists. While the Tory assault develops we have seen almost eighteen months of intermittent strike action, though of course nothing on the scale necessary to stop the attacks.

In the public sector we now see ongoing action by the PCS and possible national action on pay by both of the big teaching unions (NUT and NASUWT). At NUT conference a motion calling for a national strike on 26 June (alongside possible action by the PCS) received support from 30-40 percent of delegates. As it is the two unions will start joint regional action on 27 June in the North West of England.

Organising to resist

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The retreat by union leaders over the pensions struggle shaped last year. What are the prospects for a renewal of resistance in 2013? Socialist Review spoke to Michael Bradley, from the SWP's industrial office, about the prospects for strikes and how socialists in the unions should organise

2012 was dominated by the retreat over the pensions struggle. What do you think is the balance sheet of that experience and what lessons can we draw from it?

Class struggle in the UK

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On 14 November while millions of workers struck and marched across large parts of Europe, the British TUC issued a press release. And not a very good one either.

Instead of calling for action, it whimpered, "TUC general secretary Brendan Barber and TUC president Lesley Mercer will be visiting the European commission's office in London to hand in a letter for commission president José Manuel Barroso, reminding him of the growing opposition to austerity and calling for an immediate change of direction." Did the bosses and governments of Europe shudder?

Louder echos at the TUC

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It is sometimes said that trade union conferences are merely the echo of the battle rather than the battle itself. If so then the TUC conference is the echo of the echo of the battle.

The TUC is the most conservative part of the trade union movement with most delegates working full time for the unions and several steps removed from the everyday pressures facing their members.

Can we break the coalition?

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Less than halfway through it's projected 5 year term of office, the Tory and Lib Dem coalition is on the rocks. Charlie Kimber argues that it's important to understand the weakness of our opponents - but what kind of action would it take to drive this government out?

We need to understand the weakness of our opponents to grasp the potential for successful resistance. It's the backdrop to building huge demonstrations in London and Glasgow on 20 October and then resistance afterwards. We are all painfully aware of the weaknesses in our own camp. But we can often forget the deep and structural problems of our rulers.

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition is less than half way through its projected term of office. But it is in deep trouble. It's not just the ups and downs and temporary unpopularity that affect many governments.

'Changing the game': how 30 November can transform the unions

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In the build-up to the planned strikes across the public sector on 30 November
Mark L Thomas and Estelle Cooch spoke to socialists in different unions about the mood in the working class and how we can beat back the Tories and rebuild union organisation

"For many years we were told the working class is dead, but we're going to have the biggest strike in generations. We were told that you won't have revolutions, but the 21st century is becoming a century of revolutions," says Brett Davies, the Unite convenor at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) company in Telford.

Pension Battles

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The autumn is likely to see a renewal of strikes over the assault on public sector pensions. Charlie Kimber looks at the pressures on the big unions to join the fight.

The coalition's assault on the pensions of public sector workers is the most direct and concentrated aspect of its war to make ordinary people pay the cost of bailing out the bosses and the bankers. It is, of course, part of a much wider strategy, involving not just the £81 billion of public spending cuts but also a reshaping of the whole of British society in the interests of capital and profit. And the pensions attack goes alongside a vicious offensive against benefits, jobs and services everywhere.

In the spotlight

Towards a mass strike

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There are times, decades even, when events drag and nothing seems to happen, and there are weeks and months when history seems to leap forward. There can be no question that the announcement, by a host of public sector unions, at September's TUC conference of plans for a one-day strike on 30 November marks a sharp escalation in the class struggle in Britain

The decision by more unions to ballot their members over the assault on pensions and coordinate a strike with the four unions that struck on 30 June means that up to 3 million workers could strike together in what is effectively a public sector general strike.

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