Trade union strikes, protests, and the working class standing tall
Why the summer of solidarity will help get us through what promises to be a unsettled autumn and winter
Summer feels as though it has long gone. The cloudy, wet days of autumn are well and truly upon us and the UK is in a state the likes of which we’ve not seen in a good while.
The summer will be remembered for its high temperatures and being the driest we’ve seen in decades, but it will also be remembered as a summer of solidarity, a phrase used often by the RMT general secretary Mick Lynch over recent weeks and months.
He would know better than most, as his union has been on the forefront of this solidarity which will take us into the back end of the year.
2022 has been a significant year for decent, hard working people. After a very long time of being pushed to the brink by those in power, there has been a concentrated and coordinated effort to say ‘we’ll take it no more’.
From the train workers unions, to the union that represents Royal Mail workers, to barrister unions, the organised effort has stood up and walked out of work in a fight for better conditions and better pay.
This has been backed up by the ‘Enough is Enough’ movement, which was started as a protest against the rising cost of living crisis in which prices have risen more than wages.
The movement has five demands from the government, which are:
1. A real pay rise
2. Slash energy bills
3. End food poverty
4. Decent homes for all
5. Tax the rich
The movement have said that they are building a campaign to win them all, and with support from wider organisations including the RMT and CWU unions they are part of a significant working class movement against a government lacking compassion as much as they are ideas.
The industrial action from the unions seems only to be increasing in regularity, with train unions walking out on three of the first eight days in October and the CWU, whose members work for Royal Mail, will strike for 19 days in the lead up to Christmas.
Plenty of other working class people have sneered and attacked the union members for striking.
Seeing ordinary people fighting with each other is exactly what the wealthy want as it distracts attention away from what they are doing — and why a unified working class movement is the stuff of nightmares for them.
‘The workers, united, will never be defeated’ is a popular chant within trade unions and it has rarely been more applicable than in 2022.
Back in July I attended the Durham Miners Gala, an event which has now become a beacon of hope for the trade union movement.
All those who spoke in front of the huge crowd that day, from union leaders to regular hard working individuals, spoke of the importance for the workforce to be united- this is something we are starting to see just what a mass organised workers movement can achieve.
The end of 2022 will likely not get any easier, but the growing movement in protest against the government and other bosses within power is proof that the workers can get united.
This Conservative government continues to fail the people of the UK and the workers of the nation have had enough.
The number of unions striking will likely rise further in the coming weeks and months, and the fight for better wages and more control on energy bills will go on long into the winter.