Basic overview of the terrain that health workers defending their terms and conditions is being fought on; Fighting both their employers, as well as a supine and complicit trade union bureaucracy. Written by a Solidarity Federation/Anarchist Federation dual carder and Unison steward working in Healthcare.
While delegates from Labour councils across the country met at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool, likely at public expense, to discuss how best to implement cuts while keeping their council seats under the banner of “Austerity With Fairness”, members of Liverpool Against the Cuts, Birmingham Against the Cuts and comrades from across the country decided to forgo a police pen outside the Convention Centre in favour of occupying the council chamber inside the Town Hall, making it, temporarily at least, the People’s Chamber.
The recent decision by Starbucks to attack its workers’ conditions (cutting paid lunch breaks, sick pay and other work benefits) in response to public pressure to pay its tax bill – public pressure partly generated by direct action organisations like UK Uncut – has highlighted ongoing concerns over the effectiveness of “Tax justice” campaigns and their relationship to class struggle organisation.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has announced that it will ballot in the new year for renewed industrial action against government attacks on civil servants and public services. But will this really mark a departure from the stagnant campaign we've seen thus far? What can rank-and-file workers do to push away from the prospect of managed defeat?
The ongoing struggle against austerity have brought into focus the differences between the "left" and "right" of the trade union movement. But they have also shown the inadequacy of the trade union left and the illusions it promotes. So what hope do militant workers in the UK have of going beyond the limitations imposed on us from above?