THERE WERE picket lines in towns and cities across Britain this week as 90,000 civil servants went on strike against low pay. Next week some 50,000 lecturers in the AUT union in universities will also strike. It is a sign that the growing anger over pay is turning into action. Millions of workers face the same struggle to make their wages last to the end of the month and pay the bills.
That revolt is erupting throughout Britain. In Scotland nursery nurses have voted by 81 percent for an indefinite strike over pay and regrading. In the north west of England Sainsbury's workers have held successful strike action. In the north east Schott glass workers have just ended a four-day strike.
In the Midlands Land Rover workers have held two days of strike action. An indefinite strike by workers at the LTI taxi manufacturers in Coventry has brought victory and a pay rise to the workers. In Leicester College lecturers are continuing their indefinite strike to stop the management slashing their pay and conditions. On the south coast workers at the Beagle engineering firm have also held strikes.
The New Labour government has fuelled the low pay culture in the public sector and industry. Its claim that 'we can't afford pay rises' is a joke. Look at the £6.3 billion New Labour has put aside for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bill is still rising. No wonder so many workers are saying enough is enough, and are stepping up the battle against low pay.
They're right to fight, and all the union leaders should be encouraging a wider rebellion.