The 10 June How We Fight, How We Win Conference is an important opportunity for rank-and-file trade union members to organise and fight for the kind of strategy we need to win

The pandemic clarified who the ‘essential workers’ in society really are and created a new imperative for workers to organise to challenge unscrupulous employers with no regard for their health and safety.

The uptick in industrial struggle since 2020 resulted in the NEU forcing the government to close schools in 2021, and accelerated massively since June 2022, when the RMT began a national strike on the railways. Nearly a year later, the strike wave has spread to the postal service, schools, universities, hospitals, the civil service, along with scores of local disputes from bin services to oil refineries to airports.

The strikes have provided a counterweight to the Tory assault on working people and brought in the biggest layer of working people into active organising and striking in a generation. Inspiring as they have been, however, they have raised questions of strategy, democracy and what it is people are fighting for.

Union leaders have for the most part been determined to keep their disputes separate and sectoral. They have pursued a strategy of not only not coordinating the strikes, but limiting them to mostly one-day actions. The result has been a fragmented and limited fightback which hasn’t been as effective as it should have been.

Too often, union leaders have been willing to settle their disputes for less than inflation. But union members have shown an appetite for escalating the fight and not accepting less than what is deserved. UCU and CWU members voted overwhelmingly to renew their strike mandate. Health workers across unions are leading an impressive campaign to reject the government’s pitiful deal – in the face of intimidation from union bureaucracies.

It is grassroots members who are the central force of trade unions, and it is they who have the capacity and the need to hold union leaderships to account and to fight for an effective strategy. This requires independent organising at the base of the trade unions.

The How We Fight, How We Win Organising Conference is an opportunity for rank-and-file trade union members to discuss, organise and create cross-union networks that are urgently needed. We are asking our readers to register now for the conference, pass a motion in your union branch, bring a delegation and speak to other trade unionists about attending.

We have everything to fight for and we can’t afford to lose.

The conference has been backed by: the App Drivers and Couriers Union, Strike Map, Tunnel Vision, the People’s Assembly, NHS Workers Say No!, Day-Mer, Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union, NHS Staff Voices, Keep Left (Aslef), Manchester Trades Council, Enfield Trades Council, Luton Trades Council, Eastbourne Trades Council, Northumberland NEU, Aslef Hammersmith and City Branch, Unite 7055 Road Haulage branch, Aslef Central Line West, Glasgow UCU, Tyne & Wear County Association of Trades Councils, Aslef Jubilee East branch, Slough Trades Council, Unite North West Service Industries branch, Eastbourne Solidarity, Southampton Unite Community, Aslef Morden branch, Newcastle University UCU, Aslef Bakerloo branch, RMT Morden and Oval branch, University of Bristol Unison, Unite Community Sussex Coast branch, Eastbourne XR Trade Unionists

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