[Marxism] One and a half million workers to strike in UK.

Katan Alder katanalder at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 19 09:48:23 MST 2006

Taken from libcom.org.

Tuesday 28th March could see strike action by one and a half million workers 
across more than nine different unions. The strike has been provoked by an 
attack on the local government pension scheme, with the labour government 
planning to increase the age workers can retire at.

With this attack workers will loose the right to retire at 60 – a right that 
had been established for those with more than 25 years service. Many of 
these are low paid workers who statistically
die earlier.

The strike will involve workers in councils, schools, police authorities, 
further and higher education, environment agencies, and privatised companies 
whose workers used to be part of local government. The strike will stretch 
way beyond local government, involving transport workers such as toll 
collectors on bridges as well as many bus drivers in cities such as Leeds, 
Edinburgh and Cardiff. Airports such as Leeds airport will also be shut by 
the strike. March 28th 2006 could therefore be the largest strike in Britain 
since the 1926 general strike.

Britain has seen 20 years of defeats for the Trades Union movement, as each 
group of strikers stood alone. The strike over pensions could be different, 
as it involves so many different groups of workers acting together. It could 
also provide an example to many other groups of workers in privately own 
industry who are also seeing their pension rights attacked.

Grassroots activists hope that towns and cities across the country will see 
multiple picket lines, marches and rallies bringing the strikers together 
and increasing their confidence and sense of class-consciousness. 
Experienced militants consider that one day’s strike, however impressive, is 
unlikely to shift the government and its capitalist backers. Therefore they 
argue that Tuesday 28th of March has to be just the start. Union leaders are 
also now talking about more action, with the general secretary of Unison, 
one the biggest unions saying: "We are digging in for the long term. This 
will not be one day of action - a whole range will be considered including 
further days of strikes and selective action."

Rank and file union members are keen to hold these leaders to their words, 
making sure that they do not call the strike off, but escalate it. They 
think that rallies and pickets can be a step towards involving the maximum 
amount of workers in the running of the strike, which they hope would be a 
major ingredient leading to victory.

By BK for libcom.org news

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