A packed public meeting in the Hampshire market town of Andover on Wednesday responded enthusiastically to a call by transport union leader Bob Crow for action against Con-Dem government attacks on jobs and services writes Derek Kotz in the Morning Star.

In a withering attack on the "ideologically driven" onslaught, the RMT general secretary said that ministers had decided simply that working people would pay for the economic crisis caused by the speculative greed of bankers.

He contrasted the Con-Dems' butchery with the 1945 Labour government which faced a national debt three times today's in real terms yet created the National Health Service and the welfare state and built a million council homes each year.

"If you fight you have a chance of winning, but if you don't fight you can only lose - so the only option we have is to fight," Mr Crow said to applause.

Trades councils had a leading role to play in building an alliance between unions and communities in the battles ahead, he added.

It was imperative that local people get involved with campaigns against cuts that would affect every family, said Peter Millward, president of Andover Trade Union Council, the meeting's organisers.

It was nonsense to suggest that there was no alternative to massive cuts, argued Public and Commercial Services union executive member Hector Wesley, who detailed the £100 billion-plus scale of tax evasion and avoidance and the "crazy" sacking of revenue staff who should be collecting it.

A major industrial battle was now inevitable, said Mr Wesley, but the union's message was clear: "If you want to save money, stop sacking people - there's plenty of useful work for them to do."