In a genuinely historic move, every trade union in the UK has signed up to a sustained general strike against austerity which could begin in the next few days Unite leader Len McCluskey has confirmed.
The shock announcement comes after months of secret meetings by union bosses in which agreement was reached to take decisive action to fight back against the demolition of the welfare state and NHS. In a statement released early this morning McCluskey said: “We are tearing up the rule book. Fuck the law, I’ll go to jail if I have to. It’s time to take a decisive stand and we call on everybody, in or out of work, to join a sustained militant campaign to support the strikes.”
Every union is believed to have agreed to take part and to adopt old style tactics, such as squads of flying pickets, to strengthen the strike. They have called on non-union members to help them blockade workplaces and picket the homes of scabs. Only those staff involved in essential services, such as emergency healthcare and processing pensions and benefit payments will remain at work.
McCluskey confirms that unions will ballot on a strike within two weeks, however walk-outs could start to take place in the next few days: “We will not wait. This Government would make all trade union activity illegal if they had their way. It’s time to show them that no matter what laws they introduce we will resist them and we are millions strong. The fightback starts now and it stops only when we win, We will bring this country to a standstill.”
He was joined in the announcement by Mark Serwotka of the PCS Union which counts thousands of Jobcentre staff amongst their members. In a surprise move Serwotka apologised to claimants for the union’s inaction to date: “We got it wrong,” he said “we should have acted much earlier. The leadership of the PCS Union can only issue a sincere apology to all who have suffered under this regime and we are desperate to make amends. From today we are instructing our members to refuse to impose benefit sanctions or administer the Work Capability Assessment. We hope to have a full strike in place, with every Jobcentre and DWP office closed, by the end of the week.”
McCluskey continued: “All of us took our eyes off the ball, there is no doubt about that and it is time to rectify that situation. We cannot stand another five years of neo-liberal reforms”
On the subject of the Labour Party, McCluskey continued: “The modern Labour Party is pathetic and the party political system is broken. Unless they stand behind this strike in both word and deed then the Labour Party will not see another penny from any trade union”. Senior Labour Party figures were said to be reeling from the news. Owen Jones, for once, was unavailable for comment.
Instead unions are set to pour millions into grassroots campaigns which are committed to using direct action tactics to fight back against austerity policies. “Close motorways, occupy public buildings, be creative and most of all cost the bastards money” said McCluskey, “whatever you need, we will pay, details of how to apply for funding will be available on our website from tomorrow.”
Unions are believed to have taken action to protect cash reserves to protect against government attempts to sequester or block funds. Detailed secret contingency plans are in place should union leaders be jailed.
The move comes as over 100 anti-poverty and disability charities signed a statement pledging non-cooperation with this, or any government until every single welfare reform introduced by Iain Duncan Smith is revoked. Some of the biggest organisations in the country are even set to give up charitable status to allow them to campaign more vigorously against government policy. A spokesperson for the Leonard Cheshire Foundation confirmed the news: “Enough is enough, it’s time to fight back, by any and all means necessary.”.
Senior Tories have yet to comment on the move, but McCluskey is unrepentant. Revealing his personal motivation for the strikes he explained: “I did not come into trade unionism to see everything that working class people have fought for over the years destroyed whilst we stand on the sidelines. History will not forgive us if we do not act now. We will not go back to work until a radical new settlement is reached or until the whole rotten neo-liberal charade comes crashing down. I’m proud to be part of this great initiative which will place trade unions right back where they should be – at the heart of working class struggle.”
(do not hold your fucking breath, sadly this could only ever be an April Fool)
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