I’ve never been on strike.
It’s true, I’ve never been on strike.
That will change on Wednesday (debarring a last-minute change of heart by my union).
I have always said that a strike is a failure. A failure on both sides.
This strike is a little different however.
This strike on November 30th is a day of action in protest about an ideological smash and grab by George Osborne.
Pension sustainability is vital and the 2007 deal delivered that. The baby-boomer impact had been dealt with.
Why then, have we come to such an impasse?
The desire to eliminate the structural deficit within a parliament means that all options for savings should be looked at. Hence, a surplus generating pension fund or two are attractive places to look.
Personally I’d look at getting the taxes in that are being evaded by the wealthiest in our society (Tax Gap is wholly unacceptable almost £100bn not collected.) But then again I am an accountant.
However, the Global financial crisis wasn’t caused by too many teachers, policemen, firemen, doctors, nurses, dinner ladies, gardeners. It was caused by a greedy, risk ridden coterie of Bankers, bond traders, speculators and spivs.
This i think is at the nub of the resistance to the pension proposals. Affordable pensions we already have and now millions of public sector workers are being asked to pay again. The inherent unfairness of this goes to the heart of the matter.
When Executive pay is rampant, tax evasion & avoidance rife and cuts hurting the poorest and weakest, the attack on pensions was a setting fire to a blue touch-paper. And the rocket truly went up.
‘Life isn’t fair, so suck it up’, ‘Better than a private sector pension’, ‘not real jobs’, ‘subsidised by real tax payers’ – I have had all of these in the last few weeks and many worse. None of which is the point.
A deal is a deal, agreement had already been made to offset the impact of living longer and pensions costing more. So the lie that they weren’t sustainable was debunked. When that failed the race to the bottom in terms of worker pensions was started. We should be raising pensions for all workers.
The misinformation spouted and now the coercion begins with Maude, Alexander and their little gang.
‘Deal off the table’, ‘Changes to union ballots’, ‘treasury figures say £500m lost to the economy’ showing that negotiation in good faith is unlikely. Negotiation by divisive soundbite and right-wing reporting.
And tonight on Radio 4, John Pienaar, brought into question the legitimacy of the strikes based out the 30 – 60% turnout. The democratic deficiency occurs across the whole electoral set of events, a by-election in Glasgow returned a councillor with a 13.65% turnout.
Radio 4 has become an apologist for the Government and not an impartial reporter of news. Turnout is not a required parameter, if it becomes one then the same charge will need to be leveled at all elections.
So, on November 30th, Britain will experience a day of action. There will be disruption by many unions (many of whom like me a striking for the first time in decades).
Live with it.
This strike is the ultimate response, withdrawal of labour is the final weapon workers have and one which none do lightly. What would happen if there was no union? I shudder to think how much workers rights would be eroded…..Oh wait, there’s a slew of changes coming.
Will it make Dave & the Gang listen? Probably not.