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Strikes are way to win

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Issue 2658
On the picket line in Camden in February
On the picket line in Camden in February (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Traffic wardens in Camden are celebrating after strikes won them a stunning pay rise

The success by Unison union members in north London follows a recent victory by home care workers in Birmingham.

And last month council workers in Glasgow received details of financial settlements following a long equal pay battle.

It’s no coincidence that these workers won big after staging solid, decisive strikes. Strikes interrupt “business as usual” and force bosses to take notice.

In Glasgow, council management postponed negotiations for months—until 8,000 workers walked out last October. Bosses agreed to fresh talks on the second day of action.

And striking changes those involved. Workers who have never been involved in political activity are thrown into discussions about strategy, organising picketing and winning solidarity.

Reasoning with bosses won’t stop vicious attacks. But ordinary people taking action where they are strongest—in the workplace—can.

We’ve seen some victories lately because workers were sufficiently organised and supported to take action.

Instead of finding excuses not to fight back, union leaders should be encouraging many more strikes like these.

Local authority cuts are set to get deeper. But mass action by ordinary people can stop them.


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