David Cameron's insistence that his government will not shy away from its chosen path of freezing public-sector workers' pay and cutting pension provision should ensure no complacency from the trade union movement.
When 10 Downing Street declares that there will be no reconsideration of these decisions and demands acquiescence to his approach, the unions should give him a dusty answer.
The readiness of the movement to back co-ordinated strike action, as agreed at TUC annual conference, augurs well for resistance.
By standing up against the neoliberal onslaught, the trade union movement is not simply defending the jobs, pay, conditions and pensions of its own members.
It provides an organisational nucleus around which voluntary bodies, single-issue groups, local initiatives and every other aspect of civil society can unite.
When the ruling class lays bare its strategy and refuses to negotiate, workers have a choice - surrender or resist.
The October 20 A Future that Works marches and rallies in London and Glasgow organised by the TUC and Scottish TUC offer an opportunity for the mass mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of workers and their allies to express anger over the Tory-led onslaught against our people.
Let there by no mistake. If the Cameron government succeeds in its aims, there will be even more attacks in future.
Former frontbenchers David Davis and Liam Fox have their own personal reasons for launching their Conservative Voice campaign to highlight "radical" policies, but Cameron will not be slow in jumping on their bandwagon if they win a resonance within the Tory Party.
Their emphasis on such Tory fetishes as individual aspiration, small government, low taxes and "radical thinking on providing public services" requires little elaboration to get their drift.
It indicates that appeals to reason or the government's elusive "better side" are doomed to failure.
This is as true of developments within the European Union, about which too many people in Britain's labour movement harbour idealistic thoughts even though the tales spun to TUC conference delegates by Jacques Delors a quarter-century ago have long been exposed as fairy stories.
The EU is not a neutral organisation to be shaped by popular pressures. It was enshrined as a capitalist bloc to rival the US and Japan and is increasingly removing the velvet gloves to reveal the mailed fist.
The EU, European Central Bank and IMF "troika" has effectively abolished collective bargaining in Greece, Portugal and Ireland as the price of accepting loans to bail out banks.
The Monti II framework, drawn up by former EU commissioner, Goldman Sachs banker and current Italian prime minister and based on the European Court of Justice pro-business rulings in the Laval, Viking, Ruffert and Luxembourg cases, will assist capital in its efforts to move workers, capital, goods and services freely across borders without fear of national collective agreements on standards and minimum pay rates.
The troika is also supervising what amounts to a fire sale of public assets in the EU states subject to its economic restructuring.
The EU has passed through the social Europe stage feted by Delors and no longer camouflages its role as defender of capitalist profits.
Trade unionists in Britain should appreciate the necessity of not only fighting back against coalition government austerity but also rejecting proposals to seek pan-EU solutions that will be at least as destructive.
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