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Friday, 26 November 2010

Industrial action and strikes

I was one of those branch Secretaries/activists who was always sceptical about the value of strike action and was always careful not to encourage continuous balloting of members for matters that did not merit walk outs because I saw strike action as a last resort. Members these days are not willing to lose pay unless they are satisfied that there is no other alternative.

I was involved with several pay disputes between 1990 and 2004 when national action was called for by the union and it was those events that proved to be more successful than any of the others. There were of course other local disputes in Lambeth, for example, where we were less successful. So I would say that we, as a union, should utilise the mood of the country right now and ensure that the 26 of March is followed by more industrial action.

We must be careful, on the other hand, not be mislead by 'leaders' who will have us think that they have the strategy right and ready like the London Weighting dispute an adventure that was abandoned by 'leaders' who failed to deliver on the promise that the arrival of Ken Livingstone (the Socialist Messiah) would have produced the goods (in other words a total miscululation). That adventure plan was filed in some draw somewhere in London to be forgotten. We need to be careful and scrutinise every detail that these 'leaders' come up with, we need intelligent, deliverable strategies that can be supported by the 95% of members most of whom cannot attend town hall meetings to vote on these matters. Lets have responsible leadership and sustainable strategies.

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