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(en) France, UCL - Wave of strikes in the United Kingdom... What if we followed the example? (ca, de, it, fr, pt, tr)[machine translation]
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:28:44 +0300
The United Kingdom is experiencing a strong resurgence of struggles, with, among
other things, major waves of strikes the likes of which it has not seen for
decades. Rail, post, metro, ports or Amazon warehouses... Whatever the sectors,
wage increases are the primary demand. No wonder with inflation around 10%. The
increasingly massive entry into action of our class in the United Kingdom
deserves all our interest... and shows us the way! ---- As in the rest of the
world, workers in the United Kingdom are bearing the full brunt of rising prices.
With inflation over 10% in July - which could reach 13% in October according to
the Bank of England! - and wages that have stagnated since 2008, millions of
Britons have been thrown into poverty and cannot, or will no longer be able to,
pay their energy bills, among other things.
Because unlike France where the government's "tariff shield" attempts to limit
the damage caused by soaring prices and the risks of social explosions that go
with it, the British government has decided not to intervene to limit changes in
gas and electricity prices, which therefore follow those of the markets. From the
first of October, they will increase by 80% in the United Kingdom!
This tragic situation obviously does not prevent the British bourgeoisie from
filling their pockets. In 2022, the United Kingdom should also be the European
country that breaks the record for dividends paid to its shareholders. Just ahead
of France and its 68 billion euros in dividends!
The Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the increasingly pressing scarcity of
raw materials on a global level which have combined to cause the supply crisis
and the current inflation are accompanied by the usual crisis profiteers: energy,
cannon dealers and other traders...
In the United Kingdom as here, the crisis is not for everyone. It is our role,
revolutionaries and anti-capitalists, to demonstrate that misery is not
inevitable but a consequence of capitalism, which it is urgent to get rid of!
Britain's working class raises its head
In response, despite a large anti-strike legal arsenal, gradually put in place by
the Conservatives since the 1970s, British workers are finding their way back to
struggles with a social conflict such as we had not seen for 40 years. years in
As in the rest of the world, workers in the United Kingdom are bearing the full
brunt of rising prices. In reaction, they and they find the path of struggles
with a social conflict such as we had not seen for 40 years in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Sharon Graham
The first strikes appeared punctually in the spring, with a shared demand: an
increase in wages, to at least keep up with inflation. But it was this summer
that the strikes really gained momentum.
The first significant struggle was launched nationally for three days at the end
of June, by the railway workers, around the unions of RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, joined in
London by those of the bus and the metro (notably London United, subsidiary of
the French group RATP). It gathered 50,000 strikers.
Around 2,000 dockworkers from the port of Felixtowe, organized within the Unite
union, also took over for 9 days at the end of August. This is the first strike
since the Thatcher era by workers at this port, the largest in the United Kingdom.
This strike, the economic consequences of which for the bourgeoisie are already
being felt, follows substantial profits from the company which are totally
redistributed to the shareholders, while the workers, a large number of whom
receive the minimum wage even though they exercise a trade at risk, are denied
In the same wave, 115,000 postal workers followed the movement on Friday August
26 and 40,000 employees of the telephone operator BT are on strike for the first
time since the Thatcher era, 35 years ago. The same goes for garbage collectors
and criminal lawyers... With an important fact: the private sector, which is
widely represented in these strikes.
Of course, the liberals and their media deploy, as always, their means to point
out the trade unionists as those responsible for the instability of the country.
Surely that won't be enough to break the momentum. But will the trade unions have
the means and the will to build a convergence from the existing strikes towards a
At least this is what the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the umbrella organization
of British trade unions, displays, which through its unions (in particular the
two largest in the country, Unite and Unison) brings together 7 million workers.
Between now and its September congress, it is planning a "wave of industrial
action", aiming for convergence between the sectors.
But if the role of the organizations is fundamental, the fact remains that it is
the British workers who have the possibility of completely paralyzing the country
if they wish.
Fighting in companies, but also in neighborhoods
While the strike in companies is central, it is not the only means of action
which currently deserves our attention in the United Kingdom. At the end of
August, 130,000 people signed the "Don't pay" petition.
The goal? Launch a campaign bringing together residents to organize and refuse,
collectively, from October 1, to pay energy companies until prices come down to
an affordable and decent level.
A priori without political label or union attachment, this movement quickly
spread on social networks.
From October 1, gas and electricity prices will increase by 80% in the UK! At
the end of August, 130,000 people had signed the "Don't pay" petition. The goal?
Refuse, collectively from October 1, to pay energy companies until prices come
down to an affordable and decent level.
In parallel, a second movement, Enough is Enough, is the result of a
collaboration between militant collectives, unions and the Labor Party. It aims
to organize residents into groups of neighbours, in particular to set up pickets
to support strikers and take action against those who take advantage of the
crisis to enrich themselves on the backs of the most precarious.
The British show us the way
In France too, soaring prices are pushing new people into tragic situations every
day. In many respects, the social situation is explosive and we must prepare for
it. In France, too, we have seen many scattered strikes for wages in recent
months, in both the private and public sectors, even if they do not have the
scope of strikes across the Channel.
These strikes deserve to be supported, extended and popularized. Because it is
indeed from strong struggles, anchored in companies and sectors, that we can then
attempt their coordination and convergence to raise the balance of power,
guarantee their extension and their victories. The interpro strike day of
September 29 can serve as support and it must be built without delay.
In France too, the social situation is explosive and we must prepare for it. The
interpro strike day of September 29 must serve as support and it must be built
What is certain is that as in the United Kingdom, our class must raise their
heads and fight back. Faced with the ecological emergency, the misery and the war
brought about by the capitalist system everywhere on the planet, we have no other
choice but to seek a break with it.
Fighting for our wages and our living conditions is a first step to becoming
aware of our strength and building an alternative to this deadly system.
Libertarian Communist Union, September 20, 2022
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