Over 70 trade unionists packed Southampton Friends Meeting House on 7 March committing to resist any attempts made by the Tory government to remove workers’ right to strike.
The meeting brought together trade unionists from the RMT transport union, Communication Workers Union and University and College Union, all currently in dispute in the area. Rob Williams, Socialist Party member and chair of the National Shop Stewards Network also spoke.
RMT guards on South Western Railway, now two years into their dispute to protect the safety-critical role of the guard on the train, have been threatened by Boris to remove their right to strike. The guards were due to strike again on 9-10 and 12-13 March, but called the action off for talks with management.
Meanwhile, 110,000 postal workers in the CWU have had their vote to strike deemed illegal by one unelected judge. They are now reballoting.
The mood of the meeting was clear – workers are determined to resist in the face of unjust legal manoeuvres; the best way to overcome this is for trade unions to act in solidarity and by coordinating action. Demands need to be put on the Trade Union Congress to do this.
But we cannot wait. Instead we must start the process of building support for this from the ground up.
The meeting was determined to do this in the southern region, starting by protesting on May Day and preparing to support any trade union facing restrictions on its right to strike.