You are on page 1of 1

www.socialistworker.co.

uk
ALL OUT TO WIN
PENSIONS FIGHT
■ I would like to get Socialist Worker regularly
■ I want to join the Socialist Workers Party
Name ................................................................................................................
Address ............................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................................
Phone.............................................e-mail .......................................................
Circulation 020 7819 1171
Editorial 020 7819 1180
Return to SW industrial, PO Box 42184, London, SW8 2WD
e-mail industrial@swp.org.uk or phone/text 07986 936094
FBU241014
T
he ANNouNcemeNt of four
days continuous strike action from
6pm on 31 october is necessary
and very welcome. It’s a good response
to the government’s disgraceful decision
to press ahead with their attacks on our
pensions.
Many FBU activists have argued for an
escalation of the dispute, now its happening
– and we can win.
The Tories have faced a series of political
crises. And we’ve just seen strikes by
hundreds of thousands of health and civil
service workers over pay - and there could
be more action in the NHS to come in
November.
On Saturday 18 October over 100,000
marched through London demanding that
“Britain needs a pay rise”. Our action is part
of a movement against austerity.
Every frefghter in England needs to get
involved in building the action. We need
to fght for the biggest possible picket lines
and rallies during the strikes. We can hit
the scabbing operation both through the
duration of our action and by picketing scab
depots like the one in Croydon.
And we should go all out to win support
from the rest of the trade union movement
for our action, we want their solidarity.
We do have to ask a question. Why has it
taken a slap in the face from the government
to force our EC to call more action?
momentum
The EC has been reluctant to lead a fght in
earnest. Our periods of strike action, so well
supported by FBU members, have seemed
more about getting us back into talks than
winning the dispute. Periods of inaction
lost momentum and risked demoralising
members.
The union highlighted the postponement
of the implementation of pensions’
legislation but the government were not
negotiating in good faith. In the end our
approach has emboldened the government to
press ahead with their attacks after stringing
us along.
For a period in the summer, in the wake
of the 10 July public sector strike and our
frst eight day block of action, we regained
the initiative. Every movement from the
government came as a response to our solid
strike action.
Now we have to learn the lessons. We
have to be prepared to escalate the dispute,
calling longer and longer periods of strike
action if necessary if the Tories don’t back
down.
If Penny Mordaunt offers more talks fne,
but we have to talk and walk at the same
time from now on.
The FBU rightly argues that ‘we rescue
people not banks’. We were right to launch
the “ring of fre” tour to highlight the effect
of fre cuts. But as yet we haven’t launched
the kind of industrial resistance that can stop
the cuts that are wrecking the fre service our
pay and our pensions.
FBU members have to organise now to
make sure that the EC does not step back
from the fght this time and that now the
“gloves are off” for real.
If we can we should try to link our action
with other workers, like NHS workers, who
are fghting back too.
While building for the most successful
possible action over the four days from
31 October we also have to set about
building a network of activists inside the
union that can push the fght forwads even if
the EC tries to retreat again.
Matt Wrack and other leading FBU
members are set to speak at he Unite
the Resistance conference on Saturday
15 November. The conference is a great
opportunity to build solidarity for our
dispute and debate the way forward.
firefghters join the
18 october tuc march