Novermber 30th and the fight of our lives

4 Dec

On Novermber 30th I was out on strike as a member of Unison. I have no idea if Unison is the right union for the work I do. In the work I do (other than the printing and book making) I either have no colleagues or they don’t see the point of being in a union because they work for a community charity. The strike was about pensions. I work 3 different jobs, none of which have a contract so none have sick pay…let alone a pension. But I went on strike. Like a lot of other precarious workers.

Why did I go on strike?

I went on strike because it’s precarious work or no work at all, because at some point I hope to be able to rely on being secure in old age and because I’ve really had enough of having no foreseeable security at all. I worked it out the other day. In the last 7 years I’ve worked 15 different jobs and lived in 8 different houses. Things aren’t getting any better. And I know it’s not just me, it’s not even a chunk of us. It’s all of us. It’s everything we hoped for ourselves. Gone.

I went on strike because at least it’s a start, despite the fact that the unions are well behind where they need to be and that their hands are tied by all the laws that broke the unions after the last big disputes. I’m doubtfull of their power and I’m doubtful that they wont just make a deal at some point that falls painfully short…but even then it’d just be a pensions deal…

At the Hackney Town Hall picket and rally I made placades with the kids

And in central london, where a march was held you saw old Red Ken speaking at the trade union rally at Embankment while at the same time hundreds of young workers, students and unemployed (people mostly not in unions) gathered at Picadilly Circus to see what the Occupy lot had planed because the mainstream march and rally falls so short, and there were more pockets of young un-unionised protest, college age students having a street party on The Strand, local support for picket lines (including in Hackney where 37 people were arrested while showing support) for example.

Occupy protesters on hang a banner from the roof of Panton House, offices of the highest paid CEO in the FTSE 100

And after one day of strike action the response from Cameron is pure and outright class war as if he thinks it’s all a big game. I’m sure that is how it feels to him. I doubt he’s ever even known someone who knows someone who struggled to get by or who uses the NHS.

I’ve heard teachers talking about possible plans for further strike action, not just a day here and there but I’m hearing weekly and then increasing from there- and thats still just on the issue of pensions. We’ve got the fight of our lives on our hands we really have. And we are going to have less and less to loose as those things that we hoped for for ourselves, our friends, family and community are stripped away and in their place we are left with…unpaid labour and nowhere to live. The kids involved in the summer riots knew it.

We need to get angry because they are coming to take our futures. And this was always going to happen. We’re only worth anything while we are making someone else some money. Now they don’t want us they act like we are robbing them. Thats the way this shitty system works. Thats the way it’ll always work, no matter how much we fiddle with the edges.

It’s now or never…


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