Joint strikes on 1 February were a great day of unity. 15 March should be even bigger (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Coordinated strikes are set to hit the Tories hard on Wednesday 15 March when the government sets its budget. But so far, the day will see a fraction of the workers on strike who could be taking part.

Education workers in the NEU union and PCS members in the civil service are due to walk out. It’s set to be a huge day of resistance for these groups of workers and will be a step up from regional strikes in education and departmental walkouts in the civil service.

Yet some 40,000 strikers from the RMT union, who are battling for a decent pay rise and against attacks on their conditions, will not join them. Instead, they plan to come out a day later.

The stated reason was so as not to make it harder to travel to NEU strike demonstrations. But the best way to show solidarity is to pile up joint strikes. Whether it was the NEU or RMT union leaders who decided to back off from the 15 March—or both—they were wrong.

This, alongside the UCU’s decision to pull strikes, means the 15 March will, on the plans at the start of this week, see fewer workers out than the 500,000-strong 1 February day of action.

It’s not too late to turn that around. The TUC union federation should call for every union with a strike mandate to be out.

Royal Mail, London Underground, and NHS workers’ unions could all notify this week for strikes on 15 March. It’s time to push forward together, not splinter off into different courses of action.

Rail workers at the 14 operating companies rejected a new offer earlier in February and are now planning to strike on 16, 18, 30 March and 1 April. And workers at Network Rail are set to strike on 17 March.

Teachers set to strike all across England and Wales

Over 250,000 teachers in the NEU union across the whole of England and Wales are set to strike next week, although the action will be spread over three days.

It’s a chance to continue the momentum gained from the big success of the 1 February walkouts. But it would have been better if everyone was out together again.

The regional demonstrations are an opportunity to mobilise teachers and also draw in other groups of workers, students and parents.

Teachers’ strikes impact wider groups of workers who have to stay off to look after children. They can squeeze the Tories hard.

And teachers are also set to hold national strikes on 15 and 16 March. Those can be brilliant.

But activists have to start arguing now about the action after 16 March. At the moment nothing is planned.

Continuing the fight effectively will mean disrupting exams and moving from occasional strikes to multi-day strikes every week. And the programme would have to be one of indefinite action.

NEU strikes are scheduled for:

Tue 28 Feb: Northern, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber.
Wed 1 March: East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern.
Thu 2 March: London, South East, South West and Wales.
Click here for details of the regional demonstrations during the strike days

Teaching union leaders in Scotland reject a poor offer

Around 50,000 teachers across Scotland are set for strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week after the EIS union rejected a new pay offer. The union said the offer of 6 percent for 2022-3 and 5.5 percent for 2023-4 was not enough.

Rightly they did not put the offer out to ballot or pause the action. Des Morris, the salaries convenor, said, “The Salaries Committee is made up of serving teachers, like me. This was a straightforward decision for us.The value of the offer for 2022-23 is insufficient.

“RPI inflation remains at 13.4 percent. CPI inflation sits at 10.1 percent. A 6 percent pay uplift is only 1 percent less of a pay cut than the 5 percent rejected overwhelmingly in two ballots.”

The union plans a further 20 days of rolling strikes, with different local authorities out on different days, between 13 March and 21 April.  And this week it called targeted strikes in the constituencies of leading politicians and council bosses.

It’s good the EIS is continuing the action and has not been fobbed off by below-inflation offers. But the best way to win would be an all-out national strike.

Strike details at eis.org.uk/campaigns/payattention

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