UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 28 January 2011

TUC Summit - time to stop talking and start doing

According to press reports the TUC is today convening a meeting of union leader's purportedly to discuss 'co-ordinated industrial action' against government spending cuts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12304080

Tellingly there is no reference to the meeting on the TUC's own website: http://www.tuc.org.uk/

The media hype around this meeting is typical of the smoke and mirrors which has characterised union opposition to the cuts since the election of the Con Dem's in May of last year. A highly effective lobby of Parliament linked to the Comprehensive Spending Review on 19 October 2010 has not been followed up by sustained campaigning at regional and national level (with exceptions such as in the North East).

Effective campaigning against cuts (in some cases backed up by industrial action ballots) has been limited so far to isolated campaigns at local level. It is clear that unjustified cuts in pension benefits and increases in employee contributions will not be stopped unless co-ordinated industrial action is actually taken - sooner rather than later - rather than just talked up on demand for the media on quiet news days.

Tomorrow's TUC youth rally in Manchester and the national march for the alternative on 26 March are crucial tests of the union movement's collective ability to mobilise members in a campaign of political and industrial opposition to the cuts onslaught.