For those frustrated at the lack of national action by unions against austerity, the Unite the Resistance national conference is the place to be.
There will be a range of speakers from across the trade union and international anti-austerity movement. But the crucial element of the conference will be the workshops.
These will give workers a chance to thrash out the best ways of organising resistance and putting pressure on their union leaders to call strikes. Workshops will cover protest and the law, international struggle, the battle for equality and education among other issues.
Others will give space for unemployed people, migrant workers and young people to discuss the fight against the Tories. Health workers will discuss the battle against privatisation and cuts at an NHS workshop.
Jordan Rivera, an occupational therapist working in east London, is organising a delegation from her workplace. “I’m really looking forward to getting together with other people who want to fight to save the NHS,” she said. “I’m inviting everyone to come with me.”
Kathy Taylor, branch secretary of the Unite union’s health branch in Bristol, is speaking at it. The branch is sponsoring the workshop.
Kathy told Socialist Worker, “I’m coming to the Unite the Resistance conference because we’re witnessing a destruction of services in the best health service in the world—the NHS.
“I can’t find anyone who voted for this. The NHS is being sold to private firms who only care about profit. From next year the NHS will be a private company if we don’t stop it.”
Michelle Adhemar is an NHS worker and chair of the Unison union NICE branch. She spoke to Socialist Worker about why the workshop would be helpful.
“The NHS is being savagely attacked,” she said. “The privatisation, cuts and closures are happening so quickly that if we don’t act immediately there will be nothing left to defend.”
Dudley Rinden is a hospital porter in Bristol and Unite union activist. He said, “Health workers need to stand up and resist the planned changes to our conditions and privatisation.
“If these changes come in, our lives will be changed dramatically for the worse. We’ll never be able to get the NHS we know and love back. We appeal to all health workers possible to join us there.”