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Prison officers push for general strike one year after TUC vote

POA warns against kicking joint action into the long grass

The union which led the call on the Trades Union Congress last year to prepare for a general strike says it is time for action.

The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) proposed a successful motion in 2012 calling on the TUC to consider “the practicalities of a general strike” against the coalition’s austerity offensive.

POA general secretary Steve Gillan told the Morning Star: “Our position is that we moved a motion last year and it was seconded by the RMT and was carried.

“The position now is that we do not want this issue killed off.

“I believe, and my union believes, that the only answer is to enact a general strike, or to have it in the TUC’s armoury to use at some stage.”

The PCS, which represents most of Britain’s civil servants, said that it  also backs the call.

“Our position is that whether you call it a general strike or mass co-ordinated action it needs to happen, because we are all facing the same issue which flows from the same source and the way to beat that is by the union tradition of taking action,” said a spokesman.

“Our view is that all the fuss about whether a general strike is legal or not is just bluster. All we need to do is co-ordinate the action.”

A fringe meeting on the issue takes place on Sunday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm at the Hermitage Hotel in Bournemouth.

Speakers include RMT general secretary Bob Crow, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Mr Gillan, Bakers’ union general secretary Ronnie Draper, probation union Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence.

Mr Crow added: “With our colleagues in the postal sector and the fire service looking at the prospect of action over the coming month, and unions across industries and services the length and breadth of Britain engaged in fights over jobs, privatisation, working conditions and pensions, there has never been a better time to unite the struggles into co-ordinated action.”


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