This is a letter written by Liverpool SolFed and printed in the Liverpool Echo newspaper yesterday (6th July 2011).
As around 750,000 public sector workers took strike action, Liverpool Solidarity Federation offered our support to picket lines around Bootle as well as joining a march and rally in the City Centre. We found that strike action was strongly supported, not just by the staff walking out but by the broader constituency of those affected by and fighting the cuts.
Teachers at Shorefields College in the Dingle have once again taken strike action against the possibility of the school becoming an academy. The latest day of action has seen the fight grow, with support staff in the GMB walking out alongside teachers from the NUT and NASUWT.
The picket line was well supported. Parents, teachers and support staff were joined by several pupils from the school - whilst members of the Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts, Liverpool Trades Council and Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst those who turned up in support. The Liverpool Socialist Choir also added a bit of noise to the event, providing lively renditions of workers and trade union songs, old and new.
On Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th June, PCS members in HM Revenue & Customs staged a series of walkouts. This was in opposition to a harsh new sickness policy being imposed upon staff. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst those who turned up on the picket lines to show support.
The action took the form of an hour's walkout at 4pm on Tuesday, a 10am "walk-in" on Wednesday, and a two-hour lunchtime walkout on the same day. The strikes took place across the country, with a high degree of support and disruption reported in most places. On Merseyside, the action was concentrated in the City Centre and in Bootle - both of which are home to a high number of government offices.
Following his recent comments, the following message has been emailed to the business secretary, Vince Cable, by the Liverpool local of the Solidarity Federation.
Dear Dr Cable,
We noted with interest and contempt your warning to trade unionists that a rise in industrial militancy in the UK will result in a hostile response from the State.
Our message to you is simple:
BRING IT ON!
The day the working-class is intimidated by mediocre ruling-class lickspittles like you is the day 'Hell' freezes over.
Liverpool Solidarity Federation
On Saturday 4th June, almost 150 people took part in the Liverpool People's Assembly Against The Cuts. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst them, as the conference discussed resisting cuts in the public sector, to the NHS, and in communities.
Contrary to the name, the event was quite traditional in its set-up. Each of the three sessions was a panel debate, with the chair introducing four speakers who opened and closed the sections, with other contributions often also taking the form of prepared speeches. Despite this limitation, there were still many good points made. Numerous times, the TUC and trade union leadership came in for substantive criticism, and a SolFed comrade drew this together to make the point that we need to act for ourselves and build our own confidence rather than looking to leaders.
This Saturday, Liverpool Trades Council have called for a People’s Assembly Against the Cuts. This all-day event is being organised as a forum for discussion and planning, with the possible aim of setting up an all-Liverpool anti-cuts campaign.
Liverpool Solidarity Federation believes that it is important working class people and communities organise themselves against attacks by the ruling class. That is why we welcome the idea of an all-Liverpool anti-cuts campaign, uniting communities, workplaces, the employed and unemployed, students and pensioners to challenge the most savage attacks our class has ever faced.
On Saturday 14th May, Liverpool Solidarity Federation - along with members of Anarchist Federation and UK Uncut - held a picket outside a government office in Bootle. This was in support of PCS union members who were facing victimisation for upholding an overtime ban in defence of their jobs.
PCS reps have been on picket lines most Saturdays since before Christmas, reminding people of the ongoing national action. Overtime is being used as a way of masking job cuts, as well as speeding up the current workload so as to meet the "cliff face" at which job cuts can be made faster. 96% of staff in the building, not just union members, support the ban - but a tiny and vocal minority remain determined to stab their colleagues in the back for a quick buck.
SF-IWA members in Liverpool held a picket outside the premises of Office Angels as part of a national week of action against the temping agency.
A comrade who took part in the action said: "This has been an excellent national campaign that I think is definitely a sign of things to come from our organisation. Hopefully companies like Office Angels will begin to get the message that the exploitation of temp workers will not be tolerated."
See more photos from the picket here.
On Wednesday 11th May, teachers at Shorefields College in the Dingle took strike action in response to plans to turn the college into an academy. Parents and teachers are opposed to the plans, but are not being listened to by the headteacher or board of governors.
The picket line outside the school saw a significant turnout of teachers as well as those such as the Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts and members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation who came to demonstrate support. There was a short march locally and a rally after the initial picket line, and reports are that spirits were high and support from people locally was strong.
On Monday 9th May, Liverpool Solidarity Federation organised a picket of the offices of Atos Origin. This was as part of a national week of action against the company, being paid millions by the government to throw disabled people off benefits.
Atos's contact with the DWP to carry out "work capability assessments" is worth £300 million. Their system has previously provoked concern from the very doctors who carry them out, and over 8,000 appeals are heard every month for Employment and Support Allowance alone. Three people have even died as a result of having their support removed, and at the time of their death still awaiting the results of their appeal.
It is now a near certainty that we will see coordinated public sector strike action within the next couple of months. Solidarity Federation - which has members in the public sector unions which will be striking - stands in support of all workers acting to defend their jobs and the services those jobs provide to working class people.
UCU have already balloted. PCS is putting an emergency motion to its conference in May. The NUT sought permission to ballot at its recent conference. Even the moderate ATL already has a mandate to ask members for strike action. The only question now is how events unfold once the ball gets rolling.
Last week, the following letter from Liverpool Solidarity Federation was published in the Liverpool Echo. We wrote the letter to try and counter the idea that the anti-working-class agenda of the ruling elite can be defeated through the ballot box simply by voting against the Tories and their Lib Dem coalition allies. As anarcho-syndicalists we reject party politics and all collaboration with legislative bodies. Exploitation, wage slavery and social injustice will never be voted out of existence. They can only be defeated, once and for all, through militant solidarity, direct action and working-class self-organisation.
Today, as part of a national day of protest against benefit cuts, Liverpool Solidarity Federation picketed the offices of ATOS origin in the city centre. We were supported in our action by members of UK Uncut Liverpool.
We were there to raise awareness of the role being played by ATOS in the government's war against disabled people.
The company is being paid £300 million by the government to carry out ‘work capability assessments’. The assessments are supposedly aimed at finding out if people receiving sickness benefits are fit to work. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible and save the government money.
Today, members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation joined members of Liverpool Uncut who had organised an occupation of BBC Radio Merseyside.
The occupation took place at 2.30pm, when over a dozen people entered the building and announced that they were staging a sit-in. The protesters announced that they were protesting against "the appalling coverage" of UK Uncut actions in London on March 26th and would show "how civilised the UK Uncut occupations are by having a lovely tea party."
Whilst the occupiers sat down to eat cakes and drink tea and coffee, a contingent of 8 police officers arrived. They could do little more than stand around, awkwardly. When asking who was in charge, replies of "we all are" and "we operate on consensus" were met with blank looks.
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International week of action against Ryanair - placards
Poster designs, two unbranded and one with the SF logo on, for use at pickets and protests against ryanair recruitment scamming. (pdf)
International week of action against Ryanair - leaflets
Liverpool Solidarity Federation and unbranded versions of a public leaflet for the action against Ryanair. (pdf), (pdf)
International week of action against Ryanair - demand letters
As we begin the week of action against Ryanair, we hope that people across the world are writing, faxing, emailing and making phone calls in protest at the airline's exploitative recruitment practi (pdf)
Combat Workfare public leaflet
Leaflet handed to the public during the Combat Workfare demonstration in Liverpool. (pdf)
Workfare staff leaflet
A leaflet for the Combat Workfare day of action, specifically aimed at workers in the companies that support the workfare programme. (pdf)
Leaflet for Liverpool NHS demo - "Labour Won't Save the NHS"
Leaflet distributed by Liverpool Solfed members outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital. (pdf)
Liverpool leaflet for Adecco picket