28/05/2011 - General Strike on the cards?

THE NEXT few months may see a wave of strikes – or even a general strike - all aimed at opposing the Con-Dem attacks on the public sector. 

Hundreds of delegates attended the 2011 Annual Conference of the Public and Commercial Services union – PCS – held at the Brighton Centre from 18 – 20 May.  Here they voted overwhelmingly to start a ballot for strike action.  The ballot, sent to around a quarter of a million PCS members, will close on 15 June.  Strike action could start on Thursday 30th June.

The PCS is the fifth largest trade union in the UK. It represent civil service and other public sector staff as well as staff in some commercial organisations. 
The Communication Workers Union - CWU – is also considering national strike action.  It represents over 200,000 postal, telecoms and finance workers.  Around 800 delegates attended its conference held from 22 – 26 May in Bournemouth.  

According to various media reports, it unanimously backed calls for the TUC to co-ordinate a 24-hour general strike – or ‘walkout’ - against the cuts and attacks on pay, pensions and services.  Delegates also agreed to moves aimed at co-ordinating campaigns and strikes with other unions.

The University and College Union – UCU – are also considering strike action in a dispute over university pensions.  This may be timed to disrupt exams and the university admissions process.  The UCU may also link their industrial action to coincide with the proposed 24-hour general strike.