[Imc-uk-features] Feature on Tuesdays Pension Strikes
barry.kade at aktivix.org
barry.kade at aktivix.org
Tue Mar 28 22:07:04 PST 2006
Got up early and finished my attempt at a feature on the strike!
Tried to incorporate some of Chris's points.
Hope its alright? Will need html adding, etc, and whatever editing people feel.
Also, loads of good pictures around to choose from to illustrate it. But be
good to stick somthing up as soon as possible!
Love and Solidarity
Tuesday 28th March saw over a million workers take part in the largest strike
in Britain since the general strike of 1926 . Every town, borough and city in
the country saw workers set up multiple picket lines to defend their pension
rights. This massive one-day show of strength comes after decades of defeat for
the trade union movement in Britain, a period where each group of workers had
stood alone and been picked off one at a time. But today over a million trades
unionists stood together and caught a glimpse of their power to change the
world. This attack on pension rights is part of the global neo-liberal attack
on welfare, employment rights and the environment that is provoking a wave of
global resistance. Thus on the same day just across the channel in France
millions of workers were also on the streets and on strike.
[links to other indymedia posts etc here? Local reports plus indymedia backround
700,000 of the strikers were women workers, making this also the largest ever
womens strike in British history. Thousands of schools were shut by the
action, along with leisure centres, town halls, refuse collections and many
other local services. The strike had many other dramatic effects, with striking
workers shutting down all Mersey road tunnels and ferry crossings, along with
the Tyne road tunnel, the Humber Bridge and Thames barrier. In Scotland the
strikers made both the Forth and Tay Road Bridges toll-free for the day! Other
transport operations shut by the strike included the Tyne and Wear Metro, bus
services in several major cities, all bus and rail services in Northern Ireland
and the Bradford and Leeds Airport.
After picketing in the morning, thousands of striking workers then joined
marches and rallies in town and city centres. According to Unison more than 850
people attend a march and rally in the centre of Nottingham, with similar
well-attended protests reported in Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh,
Liverpool, Manchester and London. Hundreds of other local rallies were held
outside town halls everywhere.
This day will have inspired many to feel that it is possible to win a better
deal for ordinary peoples lives by taking mass direct action. But the feeling
is also that one days strike will not be enough. Grassroots trades union
members hope that the union leaders will now keep their promise of organising
more and longer strikes, combined with a national demonstration in London.
Last year other public sector unions such as the Civil Servants PCS, along with
health workers and teachers threatened strike action and won a deal which while
protecting the pensions provisions of existing workers unfortunately also
allowed the bosses to start new workers on worse terms and conditions. However,
at the moment, the government is denying this deal to those under the local
government scheme. It is expected that the Local Government union leaders also
want to make a similar deal to that won for other public sector workers. There
is debate amongst union members about this strategy, with some activists
arguing that a real and lasting victory should also include future workers in
the deal. All agree that victory for the strike is the best way to inspire
other actions. Millions of workers in the private sector also face attacks on
their pensions, as well as a general government assault on the state pension in
the future. The outcome of this current battle could shape this wider war
between the workers and capital.
Unison members strike stories
unison members strike photos
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