Decisive, sustained, united strike action is needed to win
The prospect of a strike wave is terrifying the bosses and the government.
That is why the Tories have legalised strike breaking with agency staff. “This was a criminal offence. Now it’s an option for business”, said Kwasi Kwarteng.
That is why Royal Mail ripped up terms and conditions of their workers immediately after they voted to strike.
These are signs of anxiety, but also a reminder of the forces we are up against. Victory depends on united struggle that can exploit the weaknesses of a system in meltdown.
“The working class is back”
June’s national rail strikes by the RMT with over 40,000 workers brought the country to a standstill. Despite the best efforts of the government and media, most people supported the strikers.
Aslef and TSSA’s strike mandates open up the possibilities for co-ordinated action. Strike votes at of BT OpenReach and Royal Mail only add to the government’s misery.
Nurses, civil servants, teachers and lecturers will be balloting to strike soon. Thousands of people are joining unions and organising.
This is a moment of opportunity to generalise the struggle, co-ordinate across sectors and unions, and tip the balance in the favour of our class.
Unity needs to be fought for
This is not automatic. This next round of rail strikes aren’t joint strikes and aren’t as co-ordinated as they could be.
Bosses are well-versed in divide-and-rule. They will lie, smear and legislate, they will make tactical concessions to divide and weaken us.
We have to campaign to overcome divisions. That means rank-and-file members of all unions working together and putting pressure on the leaderships of their unions to act together at every opportunity.
At a very minimum, unions should not accept any pay deal below RPI inflation, currently at almost 12%. Strikes should escalate. Going from three days of strikes in June to a one-day strike at the end of July is not moving forward.
Demonstrating you have power is important, exercising it decisively is key to winning.
This is a national political struggle, not a series of isolated disputes. Bosses are responsible for the pay and conditions of their workers, but it is the government that enables them.
It is the government that passes anti-trade union legislation, that lifts the energy price cap and cuts public services. They are responsible for the catastrophic cost of living crisis.
Sunak and Truss both want to cut taxes for the richest and further limit the ability of working people to organise. Starmer is worse than useless in opposing this assault on the working class, he is actively supporting it.
Industrial action has to be part of a wider movement that mobilises the widest layer of working people to bring the Tories down including national mobilisations and local protests.
But it also means demanding our union leaders call decisive, sustained, united strike action that starts stacking up some victories.
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