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30 June mass strike

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Anonymous
Apr 20 2011 17:13
30 June mass strike

Does anyone know what's happening with the strikes the SWP are hyping up? Are they actually going to happen or are they just trot bullshit? There was a Guardian comment article the other day and Paul Mason has blogged that there is informal agreement that PCS, NUT, ATL and UCU will all be holding a one day strike on the day.

If they are actually going to happen shouldn't we be organising pretty heavily for them now?

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Apr 20 2011 17:55

If it is the case then we should be investing our resources in it, absolutely.

Maybe posters who are members of said unions or who work in the affected areas could shed some light on it for us.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 20 2011 18:03

Our SolFed local has members in UCU and NUT, neither have mentioned anything, which doesn't mean it isn't happening but suggests that if it is it's coming from the top but they're not making much effort to build it.

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fingers malone
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Apr 20 2011 19:07

I'm in UCU but there's only three of us working over Easter, when everyone comes back after break I should be able to find out.
We're also voting on strike action over redundancies soon.

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Apr 20 2011 19:13

How can we find out? I agree that if it's true we should be organising to help build this.

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Apr 21 2011 09:02

Yeah, I meant to post something about this last week.

It probably will be happening, over pensions. However, it is completely inaccurate to describe it as a "mass strike". It will be a one day, top-down organised union strike in the public sector, and a small minority of the public sector at that. The main union missing, and also the biggest, is Unison, which is pretty outrageous but unfortunately quite typical of Unison. That was what I was going to post about in particular, so I will get going with my blog post on it.

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Apr 21 2011 11:12

Blog post now done:
http://libcom.org/blog/unison-fighting-cuts-dr-it-21042011

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Apr 21 2011 12:33

This from a SolFed member/PCS rep on Twitter:

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Why on earth are the Trots still claiming PCS and others will take coordinated strike action on 30th June? We haven't even balloted yet!

PCS won't be balloting until after conference, 20th May. The timeframe to get it going (legally) on 30th June is far too short.

My guess here, like the 'call on the TUC to call a general strike' is that it's the standard Trot ploy of demanding something 'realistic' but impossible/implausible, then when it doesn't happen turning round and saying 'this is why the unions need revolutionary leadership'. and on the off-chance it does happen, they'll take the credit of setting the agenda through 'rank-and-file pressure' or something.

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Apr 26 2011 21:15

Well NUT's just agreed at conference to ballot members soon over June strike action. I've just heard from local branch sec that they'll be coming into schools to push the yes vote.

I'm positive that bunch will vote in favour of strike action, though I'm sure some will scab and I know for a fact several had already moved from NUT to NASUWT because they are 'not political' and didn't want to strike in a previous school.

The young age of our teaching staff and managerial aspirations of the Teach-Firsters mean quite a few don't particularly care about pensions so we've our work cut out.

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Apr 26 2011 23:15

As far as I know UCU already voted on strike action over pensions before and that ballot is still valid so I think we don't need to ballot. We are voting soon on strike action over redundancies in my place anyway.
I talked to some people today about 30th June strikes and to be honest they didn't sound that enthusiastic.

Jason Cortez
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Apr 27 2011 08:31

Yes UCU ballot is still valid

john
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Apr 27 2011 12:14

the UCU national strike on pensions will be very top-down if it does happen - membership dont' seem particularly supportive (not least because now that teaching has ended at a lot of universities a strike wouldn't be particularly disruptive - hence appears like a UCU Left stunt rather than actual mobilising by membership) - not the same for the various local disputes that are happening - e.g. Stirling, London Met, Liverpool Hope - which all seem to have much more support from membership.

but word from the UCU leadership seems to be that they're not going to hold a strike over the summer now anyway (for obvious reasons)

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Apr 28 2011 19:26

NLSF is working on some fliers on the potential June 30th strike that education workers can give to other members of staff, students, and parents. We've also just about completed a leaflet to give out to co-workers to encourage them (regardless or union affiliation or lack thereof) not to cross picket lines. Neither will probably be enough in themselves, but will be the means to start that conversation.

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Apr 28 2011 21:14

The Commune are having a meeting about building for this on the 9th at Freedom books in London.

fb event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=199863513385158

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Apr 29 2011 00:13

JC, there was an email to the list, did you see it?

raw
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May 11 2011 14:24

Here is a planning meeting to help organise for the strike on June 30th - All welcome

http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/organising-june-30th-marchmont-centre-london-wc1-7pm-monday-23rd-may-100520

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May 11 2011 14:53

Theres allot of talk about the unions inability to take this kind of action, the anti cuts group that have workers students, activists and the unemployed involved in them would be more willing to take this kind of action. Even if just the one union does strike and it's top down we can still make the situation better by generalising it on a grassroots anti-cuts basis, getting into contact with student groups, local anti-cuts groups and other who are interested would be effective.

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May 11 2011 19:18

There´s going to be a meeting about organising this on Monday 23rd, 7pm at Marchmont Community Centre.

What we talked about in a nutshell last meeting was that someone will propose it to the anti-cuts groups that we call the 30th June a day of action against cuts and then try to generalise it. There were a lot of people at the meeting and a positive feeling. My main worry is that there are very few people coming along who will actually be going on strike, I´m also not sure how much people feel in sympathy with public sector workers over the pensions thing.

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May 11 2011 20:20

I know a anarchist teacher in the NUT, I can get him along, also a anarchist Afer in the PCS

posi
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May 11 2011 20:35

cool, get 'em down!

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May 11 2011 20:44

will do

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May 12 2011 01:54

Our SolFed local has UCU and NUT members, and neither have really heard anything about June 30th strikes. If this is happening, it seems like tokenism from Trot union execs, since going on the local evidence there's no attempts to mobilise, agitate or even inform the rank-and-file. I don't want to be the relentless cynic and put a dampener on things, but that's the local picture so far. Is there any chance this whole thing is related to Trot powerplays in the unions, i.e. hype it, when it doesn't happen it 'proves' the right wing bureaucrats need replacing with leftist ones...?

raw
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May 12 2011 10:07
Joseph Kay wrote:
Our SolFed local has UCU and NUT members, and neither have really heard anything about June 30th strikes. If this is happening, it seems like tokenism from Trot union execs, since going on the local evidence there's no attempts to mobilise, agitate or even inform the rank-and-file. I don't want to be the relentless cynic and put a dampener on things, but that's the local picture so far. Is there any chance this whole thing is related to Trot powerplays in the unions, i.e. hype it, when it doesn't happen it 'proves' the right wing bureaucrats need replacing with leftist ones...?

Your right to be cynical, in fact its realistic and was reflective of the union members that were at the meeting hosted by the commune last week. However every group including SolFed and AF have stated that we need to agitate for a much wider co-ordination of strike and direct action on the streets which June 30th will aim to be. It will be a valuable experience and can be part of a wider confidence builder to those workers in the public sector to know that the rest of the anti-cuts movement relies on them to take action and those outside will use it to generalise the strikes further.

Is there any chance of Brighton having the same approach to those of us organising the meeting on May 23rd in London? Could you call for a similar assembly in the next week based on this approach? I'm sure with all the contacts we have nationally it could be the formation of a much wider and relevant libertarian initiated to start taking an offensive role where its needed.

Discuss?

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May 12 2011 12:00

i certainly think we should do what we can to build and strengthen any strike, even if it's part of Trot manouvering it doesn't have to be limited to that. the problem is at the moment is none of our members in the relevant unions have heard anything about a strike (yet), so it's hard to move forward. there is interest amongst local anarchists to support it, but at the moment we're talking to various contacts trying to find out (a) what's actually happening and (b) if and how we can help. i think some kind of assembly/public meeting on anarchist/libertarian communist initiative could be a good idea, but i don't think we know enough to organise one at the moment. i'll put it on our local SolFed list and see what people think, and if it's a goer we can put it out to the general brighton anarchist/activist list, see who's interested and pull something together.

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May 12 2011 12:40

The meet in londons on the 23rd, maybe we'll know more then about what is actually happening then.

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May 12 2011 13:22
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
UCU already have a live ballot so people will start hearing things when the union leadership decide to tell them. This could be after their congress in two weeks? (...) You do need to let your cynicism go a bit JK, shit Trot bureaucrats aren't behind everything.

Except i'm basing this on what a UCU member told me after coming out of a UCU meeting, where the only mooted strike action was next academic year. i know there's alive ballot, was on the picket line a few weeks ago chatting to people.

I'd love to be proved wrong, but i've yet to see anything concrete about this and i don't think we should e.g. print a thousand posters on wishful thinking! And fwiw Trot bureaucrats are very definitely behind this, UCU/NUT/PCS are known as the Trot unions, and this talk is obviously coming from the top because no shop stewards or members i've spoken too have any idea what's happening.

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May 12 2011 16:44

Yeah, Joseph for once I think your cynicism may be a little misplaced.

The NUT are sending out vote yes to strike action to all their members at present and will be balloting. Initial feedback seems to be looking good for a yes vote.

It's probably true that at the moment not much of this stuff has filtered down, the discussions I've been involved in have been around branch office server/regional level at the moment.

My guess is the UCU won't schedule a strike date until the NUT get a definitive yes vote and officially announce the date. Don't know what the score is with the PCS.

Jim, I'm not really sure what you mean about getting thousands of leaflets printed. What would they say, who would they be aimed at, and how would they be distributed? Again you are using the terminology "mass strike", but I don't think we are anywhere near that sort of event

What would be really great would be if other people not in those unions could either agree to refuse to cross picket lines, or if there weren't picket lines, to call in sick. Now I don't think that a majority of people would do this, but I wonder if we could get a sizeable minority. If only 1% of people did, that would still be 300,000 workers out, which would cause economic disruption.

I'm going to talk to people at work, to get a feel for what the mood is. It's difficult though working in a public service setting because people don't want to hurt service users.

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May 12 2011 17:22
Steven. wrote:
My guess is the UCU won't schedule a strike date until the NUT get a definitive yes vote and officially announce the date. Don't know what the score is with the PCS.

Now I don't think that a majority of people would do this, but I wonder if we could get a sizeable minority. If only 1% of people did, that would still be 300,000 workers out, which would cause economic disruption.

Why have UCU and NUT leadership chosen to ballot for strike action when the education sector will be effectively on holiday? London IWW Education Workers Industrial Union hosted a meeting about a recent decision by management to mass outsource the manual staff at UCL (we have a member who was until recently was on the unison branch committee). The unison shop stewards were scathing of the regional office dragging its feet on the issue of balloting its membership for Industrial action, which should happen a.s.a.p to have maximum impact before the exam period ends and student and academic staff pack their bags for leave until september.

Maybe you understand the internal political dynamics of unison a lot better Steven. If an indicative ballot results in a majority for Industrial action will the regional office be obliged to put out a ballot for industrial action and how fast can it be implemented?

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May 12 2011 21:27
blackrainbow wrote:
Steven. wrote:
My guess is the UCU won't schedule a strike date until the NUT get a definitive yes vote and officially announce the date. Don't know what the score is with the PCS.

Now I don't think that a majority of people would do this, but I wonder if we could get a sizeable minority. If only 1% of people did, that would still be 300,000 workers out, which would cause economic disruption.

Why have UCU and NUT leadership chosen to ballot for strike action when the education sector will be effectively on holiday?

it will be a holiday for universities, but not schools.

My guess is this is just difficulties with scheduling - because of the practicalities of balloting timetables they couldn't do it any sooner, and couldn't do it any later because then it would cut into school holidays.

However, I think things aren't always that innocent. Our last local government strike was right at the end of term, when our branch and many others had requested that it not be, as it would result in lower participation from school staff, who are one of our most powerful sectors. In that instance I think it was not in the union leaderships interest that we won.

Quote:
London IWW Education Workers Industrial Union hosted a meeting about a recent decision by management to mass outsource the manual staff at UCL (we have a member who was until recently was on the unison branch committee). The unison shop stewards were scathing of the regional office dragging its feet on the issue of balloting its membership for Industrial action, which should happen a.s.a.p to have maximum impact before the exam period ends and student and academic staff pack their bags for leave until september.

Maybe you understand the internal political dynamics of unison a lot better Steven. If an indicative ballot results in a majority for Industrial action will the regional office be obliged to put out a ballot for industrial action and how fast can it be implemented?

yeah, this happens a lot. I wrote about it on here a few years ago when people in my section voted 97% to strike in an indicative ballot against an unfair dismissal and the region refused to give us an official ballot.

In short, no the regional office can do whatever the hell it likes. Over the past couple of years the London region basically hasn't allowed any strikes at all. Certainly it has not permitted any official ballot is to take place until after all negotiations with the local employer have finished. And of course in every instance this means that it is too late, especially with restructurings where they set the deadline for applications for voluntary redundancy extremely early, so people are forced into taking "voluntary" redundancy. Or people have already given up.

How fast can be implemented? If they wanted to allow it it could be done instantly, with the votes counted in about two weeks and the action seven days later. But unison don't want that. We had an indicative ballot approving strike action against compulsory redundancies now a couple of months ago at my work and have not had any official ballot. Meanwhile dozens of people have been made redundant. We also had a massive indicative vote in favour of strike action at a private contractor, but the region blocked this as well.

That said, unison in London have got a bit better than they were a couple of years ago, when they didn't used to let anyone strike at all pretty much for anything. Whereas Tower Hamlets were allowed an official strike a couple of weeks ago.

posi
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May 12 2011 21:56

I asked an NUT teacher about the strike date.

Quote:
On your question - my term ends on July 23, and other schools will be finishing around then. The impact is limited, certainly, because Year 11 students will have left, as will Year 13s. The post-exam period in the summer term is by far the least intense period of the year - it kind of feels as though the year's work has been done and you're waiting for the summer holiday. So that will definitely limit the impact of a June 30 strike. Having said that, it's worth noting that earlier in the summer term - before the exams have started - the pressure is probably at its peak, and many teachers wouldn't want to strike with a few precious lessons left before their students disappear for exams. Easily the best is something in the first two terms of the year, I'd say.

Also, my understanding is that UCU members will be divided by the different pension schemes they're on. According to a UCU member in a South London university (admin):

Quote:
I think people on the TPS pension scheme will join. Whether people on USS join depends on the length of the balloting period. . . . TPS includes school teachers, and lecturers in post-92 universities and FE colleges. USS includes teaching and some admin/ support staff in pre-92 universities.

PCS conference is in Brighton this weekend. I strongly expect there will be a strong vote for strike action, implicitly on June 30th.

raw
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May 12 2011 22:15

From the discussions I had with some UCU people there is a reluctance to strike. Everyone is scared and fearful of disruption and some of the younger ones aren't really thinking about pensions.

Also I read in Socialist Worker that Unite Health Care Committee had an intention to hold a strike also on June 30th - they were apparently to decide on May 11th but can't see any reports from it.

Whats important in my opinion is the vast majority of people NOT in trade unions, including the many unemployed, that have nothing to struggle with - no union, no organisation...etc. They also should have a legitimate voice in this and we should not only these struggles to be defined and determined by the trade union movement. Trade Unionism fundamentally attempts to package failure as success whilst ignoring the facts that things will get increasing worse for all of us unless they start having some proper confrontations with their employers