Support the winter strikes and prepare for next year!

By Terry Williams

Throughout December and running into the next month the strike wave in Britain is intensifying. Actions are being taken by a number of trade unions, including the RMT rail union’s members, the CWU’s members in Royal Mail, PCS civil servants, and Royal College of Nursing members.

These disputes are expected to continue into next year and other unions are considering joining the strike wave, such as teachers, whose strike ballot concludes in January.

This current strike wave has already reached a level not seen since the 1980s and it should be anticipated that this struggle will continue for some time, because the ruling class’ project to Americanise the British economy and society, as written about in this article here, requires a ferocious assault on the working class and oppressed.

The real wages of workers in the public sector are being driven down as fast as possible, enabling employers in the private sector to follow behind and lower wages in that sector too. The Tory government plays the key role in setting public sector pay. It controls the framework for the employers’ pay offers and it can and does direct the employers’ negotiating strategies and even some of the tactics. It is using its authority to try to break the resolve of workers and in most of the disputes it is determined that employers do not make concessions. Instead it is encouraging employers to intensify their attacks on their workforce, using for example threats of redundancies and the imposition of more exploitative working conditions.

In the coming period progressive activists should be working to build up the broadest solidarity possible with the strike wave. The unions engaged in these struggles need political and material support. The initiatives being taken by Enough Is Enough and the People’s Assembly should be also be promoted, including the People’s Assembly 14 January conference. Labour movement activists, in every locality, should be working together to build up such solidarity.