As our supporters and affiliates will know, this year’s conference of the National Shop Stewards Network (our 11th) is due to take place in London on Saturday July 1st. Hundreds of trade union and anti-cuts campaigners will be preparing to take part in discussions and debates about the crucial struggles and disputes facing working people. Of course, a prominent issue would be how we organise a mass movement to take on a weak and discredited Tory Government. The NSSN is not affiliated to any political party but we unapologetically campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-worker manifesto in the General Election and we will continue to support his anti-austerity programme.
Over the last day, we have been made aware that the People’s Assembly has called a national ‘Tories out’ demonstration in London on July 1st – the same day as the NSSN Conference. It is welcome that such a protest has been organised, and in fact we have been pushing for the TUC and the unions to call one. It is vital that everything is done to make this a massive demonstration as the starting point for a movement of protests, marches and strikes that is needed to build the pressure to push out May and the Tories. To maximise the demonstration’s authority, size and reach as well as the action that needs to build afterwards, we believe that if it hasn’t already been done, the TUC (including the Scottish and Wales TUCs) and the unions should be approached and offered the opportunity to put the march under their banner.
Therefore, the national steering committee of the NSSN has decided to cancel this year’s conference to support the demonstration and to concentrate our efforts to build it. We apologise to those who were looking forward to our conference but we encourage them, their union branches and trade councils to come on the demonstration and mobilise for it. We will be organising a NSSN contingent on the march, which we will be sending information out about. We will also be requesting that the NSSN be allowed to have a speaker on the platform.
The NSSN will also play its part in mobilising for the Tories’ Queens Speech next Wednesday. We will be staging a platform outside Parliament, open to all others, from 4pm
Next year’s NSSN Conference will be on Saturday June 30th in Conway Hall. We thank them for being prepared to move it without financial penalty. The annual NSSN rally at the TUC Congress, will take place in the Holiday Inn in Brighton from 1pm on Sunday September 10th.