Tuesday 28th March will see strike action by one and a half million workers across more than nine different unions. The strike has been provoked by an attack on the local government pension scheme, with the labour government planning to increase the age workers can retire at.
With this attack workers will loose the right to retire at 60 – a right that had been established for those with more than 25 years service. Many of these are low paid workers who statistically die earlier.
March 28th 2006 could therefore be the largest strike in Britain since the 1926 general strike.
The strike will involve workers in councils, schools, police authorities, further and higher education, environment agencies, and privatised companies whose workers used to be part of local government. The strike will stretch way beyond local government, involving transport workers such as toll collectors on bridges as well as many bus drivers in cities such as Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Airports such as Leeds airport will also be shut by the strike.
Britain has seen 20 years of defeats for the Trades Union movement, as each group of strikers stood alone. The strike over pensions could be different, as it involves so many different groups of workers acting together. It could also provide an example to many other groups of workers in privately own industry who are also seeing their pension rights attacked.
Most towns and cities will see multiple picket lines! Join in!
French trade unions and students' organisations have called a one-day general strike of work stoppages and demonstrations on March 28 demanding the appeal of labour liberalisation law the CPE, or "first employment contract".
"All the unions are calling to make March 28 a day of demonstrations, strikes and work stoppages," said Rene Valadon, secretary of the Force Ouvriere union, after a meeting of France's main unions, student and high school groups.
Gerard Aschieri of the Federation of United Unions said that public and private workers would go "hand in hand" during the day of action.
Most of the country's 85 universities remained partially or totally shut down by student strikes on Monday, and for the first time more than 300 secondary schools across the country were also affected.
The action is escalating. For example students at the elite Science-Po political science school have just voted to go on strike to protest against the CPE.
In addition to the General Strike on the 28th, student organisations have urged supporters to stage protests Tuesday and Thursday of this week.
"There is no risk of things tailing off, because we have sizeable reserves among the secondary school and university students. We can step up the mobilisation. We have got such a dynamic behind us we are bound to make the government give way," said Bruno Julliard of the UNEF students' union.
IF CAPITALISM GETS UP YOUR NOSE - THEN PICKET!
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS SOLIDARITY FOREVER!