"Public sector alliance" is not the whole answer

Submitted by martin on 9 June, 2010 - 2:59

The conference in May of the civil service workers' union PCS resolved on "a major call for joint action amongst public sector unions".

There are two problems with making this call "the answer" to cuts.

First, it cuts against more confident or militant unions taking action ahead of the rest.

Some battles can be won by sectional action. And united trade-union action is more likely to start by some unions giving a lead than by waiting until everyone is lined up to make the first step forward in perfect harmony.

Secondly: why the "public sector" limitation? It made some sense when the issue was the Labour government's limits on public sector pay.

It makes less sense when the issue is broader, including cuts in welfare benefits, health care, education, etc. which affect every working-class household.

Also, what do the PCS leaders mean by "public sector unions"? All the big unions except perhaps USDAW figure significantly in the public sector and in public services.

Unite, GMB, CWU, RMT, TSSA, ASLEF all figure there, as well as PCS, Unison, NUT, etc.

An alliance against cuts, local or national, should seek to draw in all unions, not just a minority defined as "public sector".

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.