23 May 2012
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka speaks of the government’s continuing assaults on the public sector and set out a strategy for continuing the campaign, jointly with other unions.
The challenges we as a union face are without precedent. The government’s austerity package and the cuts they mean for our members, their families and their communities are completely unpreceded in Britain. Therefore we have to step up to the plate, to continue what we have I think done brilliantly over the years, which is to effectively say, we are the real opposition to what the government is doing, and we want to build that opposition to their austerity programme. And conference, if you think about it, what the government is doing is unleashing hell on members, their communities their families and some of the most vulnerable people in Britain.
Unemployment, twenty year high for women, record unemployment for youth, and despite the last two months of a slight drop, projected to go to three million. Growth in the economy, gone through the floor, the Chancellor has missed all its targets. And yet, while they cut £28.5 billion off the welfare budget, we are slashing rates of Corporation Tax in Britain to 24 and then 20 percent, mean we have lower rates of Corporation Tax than even Switzerland.
This is a government of millionaires. It is a government of incompetents, and is frankly ruling on behalf of a tiny elite. This tells us that what we are seeing here is the massive attack which means those with the least are paying an enormous price for the folly of those at the top.
Conference I think that means what we have to do this week is dedicate ourselves to do everything that is necessary to fight the government, defend our members, their families, and the communities in which they live. That conference is the size of our task. Because if we do not meet that task, what we will lose in this period we will lose for generations. Things we have taken for granted will go. Britain will become a more brutal, unequal place to live. And it’s because people recognise the robbery and the injustice that they are prepare to fight.
Over the last year, we’ve done incredible work. We, by identifying June 30th was the key to launch the fight back on pensions, directly lit the fuse for November 30th. November 30th was one of the greatest days for the trade union movement in recent history. 29 unions, two million workers uniting the length and breadth of the UK. It represented the high tide of trade unionism in Britain in the recent past. It showed us how we can beat the government.
I hope this conference starts that process in earnest again, after this week. We take the right decisions in our debate and are united to say, the workers united will never be defeated. We are not accepting it, and we will fight you every step of the way.
Good luck conference, and have a good week.