Some trade unions have signalled that they are moving towards striking over pay. This comes as others are either actively taking industrial action or balloting members for it. However, once again Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has made its position clear – it’s not the party of industrial action. So, it’s time for unions to ditch the party for good.
Strikes across the UK
At the minute, several unions are striking. These include:
- The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union – over pay, terms and conditions.
- The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) – over the government’s decimation of legal aid.
- United Voices of the World (UVW) union members at the Saint James Tavern in Brighton – striking over pay and conditions.
- IWGB courier members working for Stuart Delivery, who contract for Just Eat – again, over pay and conditions.
Other unions are currently balloting, or have balloted, members on strike action. These include:
- The University and College Union (UCU)‘s further education members – over pay and conditions.
- British Airways check-in staff division of Unite, who voted overwhelmingly to strike.
- IWGB members at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who also voted overwhelmingly to strike.
- The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which is balloting both its BT and Royal Mail staff.
On top of all this, several other unions are making noise about potential strike action. These include:
- The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), whose bosses have just offered an “utterly inadequate” 2% pay rise to members.
- The British Medical Association (BMA), which is demanding a 30% pay rise for doctors over five years to make up for pay cuts since 2008.
Labour: anti-trade unionism
So far, Keir Starmer has made it clear that his party doesn’t support the RMT strike. He even tried to stop his frontbenchers going to picket lines. Then, on Tuesday 28 June, Labour’s shadow economic secretary Tulip Siddiq was on Sky News. She said of the RMT action:
We didn’t support the strikes, as they happened now, because we felt they were very disruptive to the country.
Host Kay Burley also asked if Siddiq would support a BMA strike. Siddiq said:
I support a situation where we pay people properly.
Yes, Siddiq really did say that. You’d be forgiven for thinking those words came out of a Tory’s mouth.
General strike now
If Labour was living up to its founding principles, then as a minimum it would support every strike. In an ideal world, it would be calling for a general (national) strike – as some unions have already hinted at.
Given the surge of ongoing and potential industrial action, unions would do well to call a general strike. If Labour won’t support it, or any other action, then so be it. Working-class people don’t need a Tory-lite party to be able to affect change.
Power lies within the hands of the people. Now, the unions need to step up and bring the UK to a standstill – while ditching Labour at the same time. Nothing less will do.
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