Report from first Sheffield meeting

On Thursday 30th July, Sheffield hosted a small but action-focussed meeting to consider how to defend the right to strike where we are. In addition to the hypocritical ballot thresholds, the criminalisation of picketing was noted as further increasing the policing role of the trade union bureaucracies on strikes, something that is already a significant block to effective industrial strategies. As well as agreeing that much work needed to be done in educating union members, those not in work were keen to get literature for the public as well to highlight the benefits for society that have come with strong trade unions whether it be on weekends and health and safety, or in being a counter-weight to rising inequality.

PCS DWP Sheffield branch had passed a practical motion that sought to arrange street stalls, a public meeting with the Trades Council and lobbying of local politicians, which the meeting supported. Other reps and activists from UCU, UNISON Health, NUT along with retired workers resolved to arrange stalls at big, more unionised workplaces having liaised with those branches. It was agreed that stalls will publicise and support local disputes and show concretely how these would be impacted by the Bill. The meeting agreed to draft a letter to The Star newspaper, and we will begin lobbying City Councillors to pass a motion defending the right to strike and ensuring Labour politicians come out publicly on our side.

The meeting agreed to reach out to those unions that aren’t delegated to Trades Council but are likely to be strongly against the Trade Union Bill such as the FBU and CWU. A larger Right To Strike meeting will be held before the new Parliamentary session to mobilise more of Sheffield’s unions against this anti-democratic Tory attack.

Max Munday
South Yorkshire Unite Community branch

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