On 30th June, teachers and civil servants look set to strike against attacks on their pensions, job cuts and attacks on services. Salford Against the Cuts supports their action and is encouraging everybody opposed to cuts to stand with these workers.
What does defending pensions have to do with fighting cuts?
The media can present a narrow view of public sector workers striking to defend final salary pension schemes that most private sector workers no longer enjoy. The wider public might ask, why – when cuts to public services are taking place – are these workers disrupting the services they provide to defend something that only affects them?
This action is about more than pensions. It is about all attacks on working people and in our view there is nothing wrong with workers taking action to defend pensions as part of that struggle. One of the most important things we have had to fight for in the past was the right to a decent retirement and that is now under attack. The average pension to a civil servant last year was £7000 – compare that to the pension of Fred “The Shred” Goodwin who, after insisting that the tax-payer bail-out Royal Bank of Scotland retired on a pension of £342,500 a year.
Why support strike action?
The principle weapon working people have against attacks on our standards of living is our collective strength and, ultimately the ability to withdraw our labour. Everyday we go to work and our labour generates profits for private companies, or – in the case of the public sector – we ensure that vital services are made available to those who need them. When we stop working we remind the employer and the Government that they need us and therefore need to listen to us. We don’t do it lightly (workers don’t get paid when they’re on strike), but sometimes it’s the only thing that works.
Workers must stand with service users and community campaigners when services are threatened (whether or not those workers are threatened). Equally, we should all stand by workers who have been forced into striking to defend what they hold dear – the right to a decent retirement that is not plagued by poverty.
We encourage all supporters of SAC to get down to your local school or civil service picket line on the 30th. Striking is not much fun and the pickets will be glad to see you.
On the evening of the 30th, Salford Against the Cuts, along with Salford TUC will be holding a post-strike rally at Saffron Restaurant on Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester from 7pm. We will have speakers from the different unions and at 8pm we will be serving excellent Saffron food at a price of £8 for those who are unwaged, or have been striking that day and £15 for everybody else. After the meal after-dinner entertainment will be provided by Mississippi Soulman, Malcolm McBride – www.mississippisoulman.com.
All proceeds will be split between Salford Against the Cuts and Street Meet, a charity run by Saffron owner Adeeb, which provides food and support for homeless people in Manchester and Salford.
Hope to see you there.