by Steve Ryan
Despite the usual bosses’ claims to the contrary the PCS two day strike looks to have been solid and successful.
Offices were closed services disrupted all over the UK. Significant also was the size of the picket lines, full of ordinary workers not just the usual activists. This clearly unsettled the bosses as many lines were challenged – with no success! The mood was very determined and angry.
Its now game on as PCS national executive await a response from government, who are now having to think about the effect of the strike, not just in its effect on services, but the fact that many members of the unions who caved in over the compensation scheme are clamouring to join PCS, seen as a union that will defend members’ interests. This can spread. Public support was good, as was media attention. Support from other unions was excellent , and from organisations such as the National Shop Stewards Network.
If Labour decides to stick it out then a political game will be played with the election coming. However this will need to be built on industrially. There is now an national overtime ban, which will help expose cuts in service. Rather than more strikes straight away there should be a series of rolling actions hitting vunerable targets in a range of departments and agencies. Anathema though it is to the NEC, a levy may be needed to back up what could be a long period of action.
Strike committees need to be formed.
In the meantime communists should be building on the emerging rank and file links that are being forged to push for wider and deeper action and to be ready when (it won’t be ‘if’) other workers come into the struggle against the cuts.
Links should be made with those already fighting back elsewhere, such as in Greece
Most importantly now is a good time to engage the political arguments about why these cuts happen, and what the real solution is: workers’ self management and communism from below.