In 2016 we have witnessed an unprecedented number of strikes in our public and private industries.
The media and politicians are playing their usual game of denying there are any real problems and blaming greedy, lazy, unethical, uncaring workers and their unions for holding the British public to ransom. These tactics are always used to undermine the position of the striking workers, and to pressurise them back to work. The way I look at things is slightly different.
The majority of people do not see striking as a first option. Normally a strike is called after months of meetings and negotiations that have not been successful. A strike is a last resort and is never taken lightly. When you think of fire men, junior doctors, or airline pilots, these are people who do their jobs as a calling rather than a way to get an easy pay day. So when professional people go on strike the public should sit up and listen and support them.
When teachers go on strike they are vilified as heartless money grabbers who are damaging our children. How does this type of demonising of honourable professionals help with the underlying issues that have made them strike in the first place.
Train drivers, post office workers, baggage handlers, passport office staff, bus drivers. Are just more of the industries that are either taking or thinking about industrial action. Believe me its not all about greed. With Union membership at an all time low, blaming militant unions does not answer the question.
Low or stagnant wages, treating employees as disposable commodities, digitalisation/automation, globalisation, 2/3rd's of wages spent on accommodation. These are just some of the issues the average worker faces in the market to day.
Take the London Deliveroo riders strike earlier this year. The company kept changing the terms and conditions of the riders that had escalating negative implications for them. They complained over a number of months without being listened to. But the strike they called not only made Deliveroo sit up and listen, it also informed the general public of the scandal that the company was trying to get away with. Deliveroo had to back down in the end and revert back to the original contract. It seems that they just wanted to make bigger profits at the expense of the workers.
When politicians stake their reputations on breaking a strike thats when things get nasty. From Mrs Thatcher and the striking minors to Jeramy hunt and the Junior doctors these political intervention leave lasting negetive affect on the industry they have gone to war with. Only the future will tell what the implications will be with the Doctors dispute.
Politicians and business leaders do not always know best, and especially what’s best for the average worker, normally the average worker has better ideas about fairness and tackling inequality than anyone else. Politicians are employed by us, and business leaders have no business without workers, so politicians should be on the side of the worker and not big business. They should be listening to workers concerns and holding business to account, but in too many cases we find the opposite.
It’s time to support the worker so don’t stay silent please,