Trade unionists and anti cuts campaigners from all over the South of England gathered in Bracknell on Saturday 18th January to launch the NSSN in the region. Delegates from Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading, Aylesbury, Windsor, Bracknell and elsewhere in the South gathered in an enthusiastic first conference. Trade unions members attending included members from Unite, Unison, UCATT, RMT, NUT and CWU, as well as Anti-cuts campaigners.
Bracknell Unite hosted the conference and Branch Chairman Terry Pearce introduced the main speaker Rob Williams, National Chairman of the NSSN. Rob outlined the role of the NSSN in uniting trade unionists in the fight against austerity, blacklisting, zero hour’s contracts, cuts to local services and the NHS. Rob emphasised the importance of building support for the looming campaign by London Underground staff to save ticket offices from closure. He explained that central to our fight against austerity was the call for the TUC to call a 24 hour general strike.
RMT speakers from the floor explained the importance of the ticket office campaign in London and the fight to protect underground workers jobs and wage levels. Other speakers talked about the continuing fight to protect local authority jobs and services. A UNITE member and local anti cuts campaigner outlined the successful fight to save Bracknell`s local hospital whilst a UNISON speaker from Hampshire spoke of the need to increase union membership if fights to save local services were to be successful.
Val Pearce from UNITE ,when making a financial appeal, spoke about the history of the trade union movement including the miners strike and the lack of support from the TUC and Labour leaders. The financial appeal raised £65+ which will be used to build the NSSN in the South.
This first conference was successful in beginning the fight to build trade union unity in our region, for the first time in years leading trade union activists met together intent on forging a challenge to the Government’s austerity programme. This is just the first step in building the influence of the NSSN in the South of England.
NSSN National Steering Committee and Bracknell UNITE.