LOCAL COUNCIL chiefs placed huge adverts in national newspapers last Wednesday rubbishing the council workers' strike set for that day. Before most people got the papers council workers had already answered their employers' propaganda.
Up to one million workers, the majority women, struck in an enormous show of power. Some 90 percent of those asked to strike did so. It was the biggest strike in Britain for many years. By day's end the employers were reduced to claiming they had 'maintained essential services', forgetting to say that was down to cooperation from the unions.
Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in cities and towns workers took to the picket lines. Town halls, schools, manual depots, libraries, markets, museums, even car parks, public toilets and zoos were shut. The strike spread in many areas to workers not directly involved in the pay claim at the centre of the fight. Marvellous stories of solidarity and of not crossing picket lines flooded in throughout the day.
It was the revolt of the low paid, with the men and women who do vital public services saying, in a phrase you heard on a thousand picket lines, 'Enough is enough.' Enough to poverty pay, which leaves the majority of local council workers struggling on less than £200 a week. Enough to being treated with contempt by well heeled council chief executives and council leaders.
Enough to being called 'wreckers' and 'dinosaurs' by Tony Blair and his arrogant New Labour ministers.