This could be the beginning of a major assault against the government and the bosses.
Although these strikes have been organised by the unions at the same time, they still remain largely uncoordinated. Workers risk being picked off one by one with only slightly improved offers, or none at all, as we enter the winter months.
We’d hoped for some more coordinated action during the Manchester Labour Party conference. Even if just symbolic, it would have given us all a boost.
But as the unions and Labour are so bound up with each other, it’s more likely any further strikes will have to wait till after the conference. After all, the union bosses don’t want to embarrass their friends in the government!
Meanwhile the Labour government’s privatisation measures move on. These weaken many of the informal ties of militant experience and solidarity which public sector workers have built up over many years. Union officials at national,local and workplace level can control the situation more easily. They prevent cross union and cross sector initiatives.
We need to build up base level networks of militant workers which are not tied to the unions and any Labour Party ideologies. We need networks committed to building independent class conscious action across sectional and union boundaries.
Some small steps in that direction have been taken by organisations such as the ‘Industrial Workers of the World’ and the Solidarity Federation and by workers networking through websites like ‘libcom.org.’ However we need to move far beyond these initial efforts if a real impact is to be made in the coming struggles.