My Election Notes 2019; E-Day -33

by Pseud O'Nym


Proof, if any were needed that we desperately need a Brexit deal – that unlike the one proposed by Boris’s Johnson – actually strengthens workers rights came earlier this week in the form of the news that workers on one of Britain’s biggest commuter networks, South Western Railway, are set to go on strike for almost all of December. Right on time, unlike most of South Western trains, was the usual bleating from the right wing press, who condemned the strike for causing misery for passengers. As the Daily Mail put it “Christmas travel chaos for millions as unions announce month of strikes AND South Western Railway says stations will shut during getaway.”

What people don’t realise about a strike is that its very purpose is to inconvenience and to disrupt, because if a worker can’t withdraw their labour in pursuit of a grievance, what can they do? Apart from none at all, what is the point of going on strike and not to cause inconvenience? The people who’ll be inconvenienced by this and will complain bitterly about it, will be some of the very same people who will go strike because of a works related dispute of their own. It could be teachers striking at exam time over salary and pension changes, low paid N.H.S staff striking over hours and additional duties, whatever it is, if people don’t support the strikers, then when they’re on strike, why should anyone support them?

We hear all about ‘zero hour contracts’ and the misery they cause, but they only exist because employment laws give the employer the whip hand. But after being conditioned by years of needless austerity for some – I haven’t heard about Eton having to sell off school playing fields. Maybe you have? – workers rights being protected, enhanced even, by a Brexit deal, is a matter of trust. And who is one more likely to trust on protecting workers rights, a party that is pro-business, pro-de-regulation and anti-union or a political party that was created to give a political voice to the working classes and to promote their interests in parliament?