The National Executive of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has voted to strike on 10 May in the battle against government pensions reform.
Its decision follows the announcement of the health section of the Unite union to “aim for” a strike on that date. Unite now says its 100,000 NHS members will be “staging protests and industrial action” on that date. The Executive of the University and College Union (UCU) meets next week to decide on its participation. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) Executive also meets next week, and will discuss further action.
Although this strike comes long after many of the government’s reforms will already have been introduced, a solid action on 10 May could help rebuild labour movement confidence. The strike must be focused around specific industrial demands (rather than a tokenistic expression of displeasure at what the government is doing), and situated in a wider, ongoing programme of action that includes rolling, selective and escalating action to keep up a constant level of pressure on the employers.
Activists in all public sector unions should push for the maximum action on 10 May – that is, an all-out strike, rather than simply “protests” which may include “industrial action” – and for a comprehensive programme of ongoing action around specific demands. Unions should also set up strike levies to finance sustained action.
A one-day token strike is only a protest; to claw anything back from this government, a sustained fight will be necessary.