#N30 saw a movement find a voice that spoke for all workers
I’m writing this post having just returned from the Liverpool TUC March and Rally for Pensions Justice so you may have to excuse some post march euphoria. However it’s clear that in terms of the support the Day of Action has received from public sector workers, it has been an enormous success.
My Twitter feed is filled with reports about attendance at afternoon marches and rallies all over the country. We might have expected the huge turnouts at rallies in Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, London and Glasgow, but we also saw 5000 in Chester, 2000 in Cambridge, 2000 in Gloucester, 1200 in Lancaster.
As well as a reflection of the genuine anger felt by public sector workers about the almost daily attacks on their pay and conditions by the Coalition government, this is also a sign of a movement regaining its confidence and finding a voice to speak on behalf of all workers regardless of which sector they work in.
I’m proud that this year the trade union movement and its members have been the focal point of the opposition to the Coalitions cuts programme. In the Spring we put half a million on the streets of London to demonstrate opposition to the cuts and support for an alternative. In the Summer the June 30 strike shifted the terms of the pensions debate and in the Autumn the TUC and unions organised mass lobbies of both the Tory and Lib Dem party conferences.
In 2012 the government will launch an attack on the employment rights of all workers. They won’t discriminate between public and private sector. If the government succeeds the jobs of all workers will be less secure and they will face increased risk of injury or illness at work.
Its clear that to be effective in opposing these cuts, unions will not only have to speak up for, but also reach out to workers in the private sector. As we fight on so many fronts, finding the time and resources to do this won’t be easy but its work that is vital for the movement and the people we represent now and hope to in the future.