Swansea N30: Striking in our Tens of Thousands
30th November 2011Tens of thousands of public sector workers in the Swansea area took strike action today as we gave our verdict on the government’s plans to steal our pensions to pay for the crisis in their system – “get your thieving hands off”.
Following lively and vibrant picket lines at sites all across the city, over 2,000 workers gathered to march through the centre of town. From shops, pubs, restaurants and houses, people came out into the street to applaud the marchers and join with our chants and songs.
The rally at the end completely filled Castle Square, confirming the correctness of the decisions to hold an open air rally despite the miserable autumn weather. The rally heard from trade unionists representing workers in education, health, the local authority and the civil service. To a woman and man they voiced their determination to keep fighting until the government concedes. The message from all speakers was that public sector workers will not be made to pay for a crisis that we did not cause.
This determination to fight until we win, increased by yesterday’s announcement of pay freeze until 2015, has to built on by escalating the action. The TUC should name the next day of strike action now and for it to take place as early as practical in the New Year. Public sector workers voted for this action with such huge majorities because it is a fight we dare not lose and because everybody understands that it is a deliberate attempt to make us pay for a crisis of the bosses’ system.
Labour Party MP for Swansea East, Sian James, promised support for the strikers but could not defend the position of Miliband and the party’s leadership who are unwilling to back our action today. Another Labour Party’s representative told me she was “ashamed” of her party leader’s attitude to the strike when she visited a picket line at my workplace. If even the Labour Party’s elected representatives are shamed by the position of its leadership, is it not time that major trade unions stopped giving them unquestioning support (and our subs) and instead support candidates who will genuinely fight for our members?
Swansea strike rally compeer