Stage set for joint industrial and community protests
Trade union reps wielding the votes of workers in every corner of Britain have thrown their weight behind the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in a landmark decision.
Delegates at the Bournemouth TUC Congress fuelled by a passionate address by the Unite union’s director of policy Steve Turner voted unanimously to back the broad-based anti-austerity movement and instruct the TUC general council to get set for a “co-ordinated programme of civil and industrial action involving trade unions and other campaigns.”
Mr Turner ridiculed the well-worn Tory mantra of “we’re all in it together,” retorting: “Together my arse!”
But he praised “the fantastic work of the People’s Assembly” and urged trade unionists to back the drive to link up with other groups and communities in a broad anti-cuts front.
“It’s up to us to not just fight back industrially but to build a mass movement,” he said.
“We’ve never been given anything — we’ve had to fight and fight hard for what we now take for granted at our peril.
“All that we hold dear is under threat and it’s on our watch.”
In a strong statement of intent delegates demanded a reverse to social security cuts, a tax evasion crackdown, a halt to public-service cuts and massive investment in public infrastructure programmes including rail, schools, homes, and utility networks in order to get the economy moving.
They instructed the TUC to mount a nationwide march in 2014 centred on issues designed to draw in wider community support but with the trade union movement at its heart.
And delegates backed an economic alternative to austerity “based on tax justice, investment, job creation, public ownership and the redistribution of wealth.”
University and College Union delegate Martin Levy took to the rostrum to endorse the People’s Assembly, explaining that it promoted alternative economic policies long supported by the trade union movement and enshrined in the TUC-backed People’s Charter.
Supporting the successful motion PCS president Janice Godrich pointed out that trade unions “are the largest democratic organisations in this country.
“We speak for millions, dwarfing the membership of political parties. I don’t want history looking back on the trade union movement in 100 years time and wondering why we did not do more.”