Socialist Worker

BBC strikers to join firefighters’ Bonfire Night walkout

Issue No. 2225

The NUJ union has called a 48-hour national strike at the BBC over pensions—for 5 and 6 November, the same days as the London firefighters’ Bonfire Night strikes.

It comes after 70 percent of NUJ members rejected the BBC’s latest pension proposals.

The NUJ members will strike for 48 hours next Friday and Saturday, and again on 15 and 16 November, with further dates to be named in the coming days.

The union’s general secretary Jeremy Dear said, “Staff are angry at continued management excess, believe they have been sold down the river in recent negotiations with the government and refuse to pay with their jobs and their pensions.”

Striking at the same time as the firefighters will make the BBC strikes the first example of official coordinated action against the Tory cuts.

The right wing media has been whipping up a panic about the firefighters, trying to paint them as “irresponsible” and “overpaid” to isolate them from other workers.

BBC workers striking together with them on the same days will be the best answer to the smears against both groups of workers.

And it will come just days after London’s tube workers strike for 24 hours from 7pm next Tuesday, 2 November.

Many tube workers also plan refuse to work on safety grounds during the firefighters’ strike, as there will be no fire cover—meaning that they could be out together with the firefighters and the BBC workers.

Others could follow their example.

And the anti-racist protest on 6 November, backed by Unite Against Fascism and the TUC, could provide a focus to draw the workers’ struggles together with those of Muslims facing Islamophobic attacks.

After all, they are all under siege from the same right wing press and politicians—the ones who are trying to divide worker from worker to push through the cuts.

This is the week the sparks of resistance to the Tories can catch fire and spread even further. The Bonfire Night of discontent has the power to put up a rocket of resistance.

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