On Tuesday 11 September the TUC Congress, the annual gathering of delegates from all Britain's unions, voted for united action by all the public sector unions to beat Gordon Brown's decree that public sector pay rises should be limited to two per cent at a time when the retail price index shows 3.8%.
Now the job is to make the union leaders deliver on that promise.
Local trade unionists in some cities, notably Leeds and Luton, have already started to do that. They have set up local joint committees of delegates from the different public sector unions — postal workers from CWU, local government and health workers from Unison, civil service workers from PCS, teachers from NUT, and others.
The TUC vote should be a signal to set up committees like that in every city. These committees can and should bring the word “solidarity” back into working-class discourse. They can and should put pressure on the union leaders, who have been prevaricating and postponing all year, to commit themselves to strikes to break Brown's pay-cut plan.
They can and should organise support for every group of workers in dispute, starting with the postal workers’ new strikes due later this month. They can and should be centres of solidarity and resistance on many other issues besides pay, for example on the big cuts being forced through in the Health Service and in the civil service.