Reports from the strike day

Submitted by Anon on 12 April, 2006 - 6:31

Dumfries and Galloway: A mass picket of 300 people at the council offices in Dumfries. All council workplaces were affected, and 30 schools were closed. Everyone thought the day strike had been a success and was determined to continue with future strikes in order to win their demands. Elaine

Lambeth: 60 to 70 people on the picket line outside the Town Hall, Many women - mostly from local schools. A definite mood that people were up for more action on this issue. One worker told me how it should have happened before the general election — ain’t that true. Faz

Leicester: The vast majority of people were striking — way above the proportion who actually participated in the ballot. About 1000 at a lunchtime rally — bigger than anything comparable in the last five years at least.

The idea of a general levy to support selective action was popular, the idea of stepping up the all-out action to two or three days less so. Several people talked about the need for the unions to keep recruiting, as people in their workplaces who were new to it all still didn’t necessarily get the point.

People I spoke to didn’t understand that under the NHS pension scheme, everyone can retire at 60 currently, regardless of how many years’ service they have, unlike in the LGPS, where the 85 year rule means you can’t retire at 60 unless you’ve got 25 years’ service. We should argue for a positive campaign to unite all public sector workers for the best of all the schemes to apply to everyone. Nick

Leeds: Turnout in the City Council and at Leeds Met University libraries good. About a thousand at the rally. Lesley, Mike

Newcastle: Metro shut for 24 hours — Tyne Tunnel shut for 24 hours — all schools bar one shut — all 20 libraries shut — all housing offices shut — Northumbria university was shut. The mood was quite upbeat and angry with New Labour.

I think we need to encourage branches and regions to start signing people up for commitments to donations if we take selective action. Ed

Norfolk: Across the county a number of schools were shut (or open only to specific year-groups); Norwich City Hall was barely functioning; the prestigious Millennium Library, outside which the unions held a rally, was open ground-floor only thanks to senior staff. Pat

London: 1500 at Westminster Central Hall rally. Lively, some heckling. Good responses on the picket lines, too. Arguments about solidarity. Union leadership asking only for what the other public sector workers got, i.e. protection for existing staff and not for future workers, but they said it in a militant way. Tower Hamlets Unison recruited 60-plus people in the run-up to the strike. A lot of schools closed because NUT members said they would refuse to cross picket lines. Jean

Biggest picket lines in Romford for ages. Dan

18 schools closed in Hackney, four partly closed. About 150 at Town Hall rally. Janine

Salford: Good turnout for strike. 57 schools shut, and 43 with reduced services. Poor turnout for rally, because union officials started it early and closed it very quickly, so most people turned up after it was over and all the union “leadership” had left! Beth

Sheffield: A lot of schools closed, some through teachers’ union solidarity. Fire service and police station both had picket lines on. Libraries closed, public toilets closed. Rally in city centre was 400 or more strong, and there was quite a buzz. We handed out quite a few leaflets to passing members of the public from our picket line and got a very supportive response — especially from pensioners. Selective action is quite popular but we need to get moving on this fast so as not to lose too much momentum. Caroline

West Midlands: Over 2,000 people at a good, vocal rally in Birmingham. 200 at the Worcester rally, 200 in Hereford rally, 350 in Stafford. Helen

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