12 September 2021

Unions must work together to fight Tory attacks

The country’s 6 million trade union members have a critical role to play in tackling massive issues facing the UK and must work together to fight racism, inequality, and Tory cuts.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka told an online People’s Assembly pre-TUC Congress rally at lunchtime that unions must come together to fight racism, inequality, the climate emergency, and cuts to pay and pensions.

Motions to TUC Congress are never enough. The best way to defeat the government is for the trade union movement to mobilise to stop the cuts across communities,” said Mark.

“We know that this government’s attacks won’t be stopped in parliament but by communities, campaigns and demonstrations.”

Mark said that PCS members will have an average real-terms pay cut of 5.25% in the coming year. This breaks down as 2% pension overpayment, 1.25% National Insurance increase and 2% inflation as per the latest figures.

He also praised our members in DLVA and Royal Parks who have been on strike.

He called on public sector unions to come together as they did 10 years ago to fight Tory pension attacks.

“Imagine how we can win if we all came together like we did 10 years ago,” he said.

Real alternative

PCS President Fran Heathcote, who chaired the rally, said: “We cannot allow the Tories to isolate and divide us. We must develop a real socialist alternative and we must work together to ensure that we are the alternative the Torie’s attacks and cuts."

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Education Union, said that workers must not pay for the government’s mistakes.

Sarah Woolley, general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union, said there has “never been a more critical time to come together and fight back.”

“Claps don’t pay the bills and a minimum wage of £15, decent sick pay and ending of zero-hours contracts would go some way to rewarding key workers,” she said.

She urged workers to: “Organise your workplace and your community to grow our movement and improve the lives of our movement and our class.”

The need to unite was continued by Communications Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward who said: “We must campaign and take action together in pursuit of a new deal for workers and ultimately for the country.”

This was echoed by Marvina Newton of United for Black Lives, who said: “We as the people are able to challenge this government by uniting.”

Defeat fire and rehire

MP Barry Gardiner highlighted his campaign against employers’ fire and rehire tactics.

“The bosses can unilaterally tear up contracts with and the way we can fight that is by rolling back all the anti-trade union laws of the last 30 or 40 years.

He called on union members to write to MPs, prime minister Boris Johnson, and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to legislate against the use by organisations of fire and rehire tactics.

“Guidelines are no use, they won’t make any difference, only legislation will do that.”

The People’s Assembly is holding a national demonstration of Tory party conference in Manchester at noon on 3 October. There is also a festival of resistance from 2 to 5 October.

The open sessions of Congress are being streamed live on the TUC website.

We are posting regular updates in the news section of this website under the tag TUC Congress, and on social media with the hashtag #TUC2021