We have seen a fundamental shift in British politics at this general election. For the first time in decades there was a clear choice between what the two main parties were offering.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell offered a positive anti-austerity manifesto, based on investment in public services, an end to privatisation, decent jobs, pay and rights at work, in stark contrast to the last seven years offered by Theresa May’s Tories.
Corbyn and McDonnell have defied their critics and proved wrong those who said you could never make those kind of policies popular, overseeing the biggest increase in Labour’s vote since Clement Attlee in 1945.
By fighting the election on issues that matter to millions of people - issues at the heart of our campaigning – Corbyn’s campaign has created an unparalleled opportunity for change, one the trade union movement must seize.
It’s clear that Theresa May’s gamble on a snap election failed miserably. The Tories have no mandate for further attacks on public servants’ pay and jobs, or further cuts to public services.
Take our strike in DWP in Sheffield, our members are resisting the government’s plans to close a vital public service in one of the most deprived parts of the city. People do not want Tory business as usual. I believe the tide is turning against a politics of fear that seeks to punish the most vulnerable in our society.
If the Tories have the arrogance to try and force through policies for which they no longer have a mandate, the union movement must unite against them. But we must be equally united in our renewed campaigning for the alternative.
This election has shown there is huge enthusiasm for this alternative, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Labour did not win, and we are still facing a new Tory government, albeit weakened, intent on representing the vested interests of the few not the many. Cuts to the EHRC and then sacking staff by email demonstrates exactly what a Tory government means both for our members and our public services. But action taken by our EHRC members shows how we can fight back, and we are determined to win.
We know there are a lot of people still to win round, and this is the next challenge for us. We have proposed to the TUC that now is the time to go on the front foot and take the fight to the Tories on issues such as public sector pay, and I am pleased to say there are signs the TUC is taking it seriously.
PCS has always been at the forefront of anti-austerity campaigning, and I look forward to continuing to work with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their Labour party to deliver the alternative to austerity that we so desperately need.