|UNION MEMBERS BEGIN TO ASSEMBLE FOR RALLY|
The report in the NW Evening Mail claimed a total of 300 persons attended the rally, held in the town square, from 12.30 until 1.00pm. However, experienced campaigners judged the number to be at least 350 and this was considered to be a satisfactory turn out bearing in mind the absence of any proir attempts to build solidarity for the event - other than an announcement (by Alec Proffitt, Unison organiser) in the local paper some days previously.
Unions attending were Unison, GMB, PCS and NUT. Some FBU members provided unofficial support as did Furness Against the Cuts and Unite Against Fascism. Following talks by trade union officials, the rally concluded with a 'One Minute of Noise' with blowing of whistles and vuvuzelas (a type of kazoo-horn). Exactly what the minute of noise was meant to achieve has yet to be revealed by the organisers. It was noted that there was no official representation by either of the Trades Union Councils of Barrow and Ulverston or by the local Labour Party.
The only mention of an alternative strategy (to that of the Tory/LibDems or Labour) came from the FAC stall before the start of the rally. If the one-day national strike had no specific political aim, then what was the point of it? If it was just an economic protest against pension cuts then this is hardly likely to generate support by the majority of the public and leave the unions involved wide open to attacks of 'selfish self-interest' by the right wing press. FAC urges local unions to plough support into their Trades Union Councils and energise them because the councils are the legitimate means of engaging with the general public.
Most schools were shut and council offices closed. There were just emergency services operating at Furness General Hospital and the ambulances were on emergency call-out only. So local public service workers were supportive of the strike but will need something more than 'dissatisfaction' to sustain them should future strikes demand not just a day or a week but several weeks: they will require an aim and they will want to know that any action they take has a good chance of achieving that aim. It is hoped the union leadership is wise enough to prepare for a determined struggle and to provide a strategy for success.
|7.30am PICKET OUTSIDE DEPT OF WORK & PENSIONS|
NOTE: As agreed at the FAC steering group meeting held on Wednesday 7th December, FAC will meet at 10am in Dalton Road on Saturday 10th to continue the campaign. Assistance will be welcome.