Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Call for 'Crusade' as Strike Threat Increases; Teachers to Launch New Campaign

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Call for 'Crusade' as Strike Threat Increases; Teachers to Launch New Campaign

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Jones

THE prospect of a fresh wave of strikes by teachers and other public sector workers is increasing amid calls for direct action against government policies.

Members of the two biggest teaching unions will launch a campaign of industrial action short of a strike from September 26, with the threat of walkouts later this year over pay, pensions, jobs and increased workloads.

The general council of the TUC decided yesterday to support a call to consider the practicalities of a general strike, which will pile fresh pressure on the coalition in its long-running conflict with millions of public sector workers. A motion to the TUC Congress from the Prison Officers Association on "far reaching" campaigns, including the prospect of a general strike, is expected to be backed by delegates.

The Brighton conference has voted in favour of co-ordinating action to win concessions from ministers.

A number of union leaders raised the threat of civil disobedience.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, called for direct action. He told a fringe meeting: "The battle we are going to face means industrial action and people occupying hospitals to keep them open. If communities fight back and occupy schools and hospitals to keep them open, we should support them. In the early years of the Thatcher government we occupied the hospitals. That's the sort of thing we should be demanding."

Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, said marches planned on October 20 against austerity cuts should be the "launch pad" for a sustained campaign. "We will seek decent pay and we will negotiate but if the attacks continue, we will deliver co-ordinated action," he said. Mike Clancy of civil service union Prospect warned the Government it faces a "battle" and revealed that plans are already being drawn up for industrial action. …

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