General anti-government strike in Britain?

Young British anti-government demonstrators

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 5 April 2013

TUC to discuss general strike – At April 24 meeting

THERE was consternation yesterday when a leaked Unite document revealed that a union report going before the TUC General Council on April 24 is calling for a 24-hour political general strike against the coalition.

The Tories took fright as the news broke that the Unite union is pressing for a 24-hour general strike in an ‘explicitly political’ protest against austerity measures.

Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps said: ‘Labour’s single biggest union paymaster is threatening British businesses and hardworking people with mass strikes.

Ed Miliband must refuse to take a single penny more of his union paymaster’s cash until (Unite general secretary) Len McCluskey withdraws Unite’s threat to sabotage our economy.’

The Labour Party was unable to give News Line a response to Shapps’ tirade.

In a document submitted to the Trades Union Congress, Unite, which has 1.4 million members, says ‘such action is desirable’.

No strike date has yet been suggested.

Legal advice received by Unite suggests a general strike could be legal under human rights legislation if it were called as part of a political, rather than a trade dispute.

But the union warns that ‘it would be rash to assume’ that UK courts would take the same view.

Nevertheless, the Unite report believes a general strike ‘would be a landmark in our movement’s recovery of its morale, strength and capacity to play a leading part in a society crying out for credible and honourable leadership’.

The TUC last September voted for a motion from the POA prison officers to ‘consider the practicalities’ of holding a general strike. The TUC has received submissions on the subject from all the major unions.

POA general secretary Steve Gillan told News Line: ‘I would like it to be a consensus in support, an internal decision of the General Council.

‘We would, ourselves, not want it to be a trade dispute but a political dispute to show there is an alternative to austerity.’

A PCS spokesman told News Line: ‘We support the calls for a general strike. Industrial action is a union’s best weapon and we are, naturally, most effective when we work together.’

An RMT spokesman told News Line: ‘I can’t say how Bob Crow will vote on the General Council. We have always supported a general strike. We support unity and solidarity across the working class in the face of the attacks from this ConDem government. That includes building for a general strike.’

No one at Unite was available to comment on the leaked report yesterday.

Asked about the general strike call, a Unison spokesperson told News Line: ‘That’s something that’s come from Unite, we’ve had the press phoning us about it.

‘Our NEC discussed the general strike issue at its February meeting.

‘We believe a general strike is a tactic not a strategy and must be considered as part of a wider strategy to defeat the attack on our members, our pay, our jobs, our communities and our economy.

‘Unison in principle believes that a general strike can only be the culmination, rather than the beginning, of a serious campaign across the whole union movement, involving both the public and private sectors and wider community.’

A GMB spokesman said: ‘We haven’t taken a decision. We’re consulting our members on the TUC motion. Our National Executive will then decide.’

3 thoughts on “General anti-government strike in Britain?

  1. Pingback: Britain’s biggest unions put weight behind plan for general strike | JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

  2. Pingback: English Glastonbury classical music festival, early 20th century | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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