Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

30th November A Day That Witnessed Britain’s biggest Public Sector Strike Since 1979

Millions of public sector workers went on strike in Britain on Wednesday to protest over pension reform, in a walkout billed by unions as the biggest in a generation, but derided by Prime Minister David Cameron as a "damp squib".

A coalition of 30 trade unions took part in this strike which was primarily aimed at the recent government’s pension cuts, but it also reflected the public discontent towards the governments austerity measures pressurising peoples in order to deal with the current recession. The government, trying to turn around a debt-laden economy teetering on the brink of recession, says reform is needed as people are living longer and public service pensions are unaffordable.

The demonstrations and numerous picket lines took place in several cities across the country, including different parts of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Leeds, Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, Derby, Stoke, Reading, Kent, Oldham, Sheffield, Hertford, Hull, Bristol, Basildon, Aylesbury, Warrington, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Different speakers at the rally in Stoke announced: “We are prepared to take further action', 'It's a fight we can win', 'This is a weak government with no mandate', 'This is an attack on pensions but it's about much more - attacks on the most vulnerable, attacks on the public sector, attacks on what we have struggled for, for working people', 'We are 99% - we believe that we can win!”

Speaking at a rally in the central English city of Birmingham, Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Britain's main union umbrella group, referred to the prospect of more strikes in the future:

"Government rhetoric today is as predictable as it has been shallow. The biggest strike in a generation cannot be dismissed as a damp squib”. He added. "We will have to see, we want to resolve these negotiations by the end of the year, the government's self-imposed deadline," he said. "I hope it will be possible to resolve it, but if not there is then the prospect of further action including days of this sort."

"Why are the government picking on us in the public sector?" asked Kevin Smith, 54, picketing outside the parliament in London, where he works as a security officer. "We had no rise the last two years, before that we were getting lower than inflation rises. So how long is it going to last?"

At the university in Huddersfield, one UCU member argued: "The pension really isn't the biggest issue for me. I'm out here in protest at each and every plan this Tory government is making to attack the public sector. "I'm happy to come out under this issue but we need to push for as many public demonstrations and loud action as we can so the government will be unable to ignore our demand that they stop all their cutting plans".

In England Inflation rate stands at five percent, far outstripping pay rises for public and private sector workers, in a squeeze on living standards that are depressing consumer spending.

Protests held in towns and cities across Britain mirror strikes in other European countries, where governments are trying to juggle budget deficits with the needs of an ageing population.

Strikes have been an effective method in achieving the demands of the working class, throughout the history. It’s one way to show the true power of Proletariat, and the dependency and absolute need of the capitalist class to it. Looking at what just 24 hours of strike has done to the system, makes us to reflect on this reality in a better light; schools were closed, major issues in the train services, there were delays at the airports, and what’s more, the representatives of the capitalist class began to talk and lie out of their fear.

So, let’s do more of these actions in the future, let’s organise and work together in order to pursue our aims as one united class, a class that can create, can think independently and is conscious of its historic role in changing and building a new world for its future, a better future for the 99%.

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