Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/885/22054
Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed
Linda Taaffe, Secretary, National Shop Stewards Network
"We never dreamt of being on a picket line," said a junior doctor addressing a meeting of trade unionists after an exhausting day of strike activities.
Yet doctors were there picketing with audacity - striking for the first time in 40 years - while preparing to do it again.
Their next action has now been suspended as arbitration talks have reportedly progressed - though they'll have to resume planned action in February if no significant concessions are given by the government.
They have had no choice but to fight back - just like tube workers preparing to strike again against the imposition of unsocial shifts through the 'night tube'. And just like thousands of other workers, from teachers to council employees, will need to do too.
Tory ministers are relentless in their ruthlessness. They are trying to take working conditions back, not to the 20th century but to the 19th!
For too long, fat-cat bosses and their Tory political representatives have gotten away with it. And for too long some trade union leaders and right-wing Labour politicians have allowed them to. As a result millions of workers struggle on part-time, unsocial hours, no home life and chronically low pay.
This has forced a new generation of young workers, like the doctors - once considered the bedrock of the middle class - to come into the fray of the workers' movement.
Professional associations like the British Medical Association are being pushed to be every bit as militant as long-established fighting unions like the RMT.
What an opportunity to link up all the different disputes and groups of workers! But where are the leaders of the Trade Union Congress? Where are the demonstrations bringing together striking workers and all those supporting them, inspiring other workers to intensify their own disputes, and showing the bosses we are one?
It's a real step forward for Labour leaders to come to picket lines. And it was great to hear Jeremy Corbyn say a Labour government under his leadership would repeal Thatcher's anti-union laws and support solidarity strikes.
But it can't stop there. Working people have had enough of waiting. It's time to build for mass, coordinated strike action!
In The Socialist 20 January 2016:
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