Trade unionists voted overwhelmingly today to set themselves on the road to a potential general strike after a close-fought discussion between 11 of Britain's unions.
Six of them backed a POA motion at the TUC Congress calling for the "consideration and practicalities" of a general strike, and five unions argued against.
Those opposing the move pointed to a decision earlier this week to back co-ordinated action and that even discussing a general strike would be seen as a step too far.
POA general secretary Steve Gillan put the motion forward, saying that backing it wouldn't mean a general strike right away, "but we should have it it our armoury.
"This government is not afraid and embarrassed about what they are doing to society. We are at a crossroads."
And RMT general secretary Bob Crow, supporting the motion, said every one of the more than 500 delegates in the hall was representing someone who was "under attack by this rotten government."
He added: "The only way if we have spears being thrown at us is to put up shields. If it means a general strike, let's do it and get on with it."
PCS vice-president John McInally said that, after the October 20 demonstration, thought should be given to a one-day general strike along with wider campaigns.
Also in support were CWU and Unite, and Chris Murphy of Ucatt said if not backing it would prove there is no fight in the movement.
Paul Noon of Prospect opposed the motion, saying it would be a "disastrous" decision that would not reflect where "we are."
Also opposed was NASUWT, with general secretary Chris Keates saying it would hand the government a propaganda "gift," and called for delegates to think with their heads and not their hearts.
Also opposed were Balpa, ATL and Usdaw.
Mr Gillan replied to those who thought the government would use it as a "big stick" against workers that the coalition was "already doing that, and it is starting to hurt.
"This government will stop chasing us only when we stop running."
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