UK Politics

TUC conference: Unions back strikes and disobedience

Media captionEd Miliband will face his critics at the conference on Wednesday

Unions are to co-ordinate strikes and civil disobedience against job and pay cuts after voting to support a planned day of action on 5 November.

Leaders at the annual TUC congress backed the action planned by The People's Assembly - a coalition of campaigners, activists and unions.

The Unite union said "mass mobilisation" was needed.

Delegates backed a motion criticising "all the major UK parties" for planning austerity measures after 2015.

Civil disobedience could include the blockade of bridges and sit-down protests.

Unite's executive director of policy, Steve Turner, told the audience in Bournemouth: "If we have got money to propose war on Syria, we've got money to wage war on food banks; to put our people back to work; our children into school and university - not debt and despair - and to provide dignity for our elderly.

"It is up to us," he said. "Not just to fight back industrially, but to build a mass movement, by building a social consensus, a coalition for change, amongst organised and unorganised workers, campaign groups, the People's Assembly, churches and charities, as well as direct action and grassroots organisations."

Strikes planned

Janice Godrich, president of the PCS union, which represents government employees, added: "We need action, and my union believes we will need mass co-ordinated strike action to bring this government to the negotiating table and to defeat austerity."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady told delegates that the TUC was ready to co-ordinate industrial action where unions wanted it.

The warnings came ahead of a possible strike by more than 120,000 postal workers over plans to privatise Royal Mail.

Meanwhile, firefighters have also voted to strike - over pensions - and teachers are to take industrial action in their dispute with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions.

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