First published in Camden New Journal LINK
AS socialists and trades unionists we were disappointed to see one of our local Labour MPs, Tulip Siddiq, saying, “We didn’t support the [RMT] strikes… because we felt they were very disruptive to the country”.
We wonder what effect Ms Siddiq thinks “non-disruptive” strikes would have. Why else would the Tory government be planning to introduce legislation precisely to stop such “disruption”?
The imbalance of power in our society is such that without the ability to take effective collective action, employers can slash workers’ pay and conditions and summarily sack employees with virtual impunity as at P&O.
The alternative, at a time of soaring inflation, is to accept pay cuts in real terms even as profits rise for many corporations.
The Labour Party was formed by trade unions to further the interests of the working class, not to undermine its efforts to defend and indeed improve its rights and conditions.
We would hope that Tulip Siddiq, like many other MPs, councillors, and ordinary Labour Party members, would recognise this and lend her support for future strikes.
As another MP, Barry Gardiner, said: “The Conservative strategy is clear: blame the victim. The Labour Party response must be even clearer: we will always support the workers’ right to withdraw their labour in order to keep their families warm, fed and secure.”
And in the words of Jon Cruddas, a former adviser to Tony Blair on unions, “the rail strikes are arguably the canary down the coal mine. You cannot dodge this. Labour has to be supportive of those seeking to defend their living standards.”
Mary Adossides Chair of Brent Trades Council & Greater London Association of Trades Councils; Cath Attlee Unison; Rebekah Ball Unite Community; Michael Barson Secretary Finchley Road & Kilburn Branch Labour Party; George Binette Camden Trades Council Vice-Chair/Former Camden Unison Secretary; Angie Birtill UCU; Katharine Bligh Unite Community Camden; Alex Colas UCU Branch Committee Member Birkbeck; Gerry Downing Assistant Secretary Brent Trades Council & Chair Unite the Union NW London Retired Members; Una Doyle Camden Trades Council Chair/Camden NEU; Bernie Driscoll Joint Branch Secretary UCU College of NW London; Bridget Dunne Unite Community Camden; Graham Durham Secretary Unite the Union NW London Retired Members; Andrew Feinstein former ANC MP; Ian Ferrie GMB Delegate to Hampstead & Kilburn Labour Party; Padraic Finn UCU London Retired Members & BTUC; Pete Firmin CWU Vice-Chair Brent Trades Council; Jonathan Flaxman Doctors in Unite; Tessa van Gelderen GMB Delegate to Hampstead & Kilburn Labour Party; Nick Gowers Camden Trades Council/Aslef St Pancras 199 branch; Rathi Guhadasan BMA; Luke Howard TSSA Chair, TfL Central Branch & Former Trade Union Liaison Officer Hampstead & Kilburn Labour Party; Nick Jones Secretary Brent Trades Council; David Kaye UCU London Retired Members; Richard Kuper UCU; Liz Lindsay UCU Retired Members; Gaynor Lloyd Unite Community; Marie Lynam GMB Delegate to Hampstead & Kilburn Labour Party; Moshe Machover Unite Community Brent; Anthony Molloy Kilburn; Gareth Murphy Branch Secretary Unite Community Camden; Seamus O’Connell TSSA Delegate to Hampstead & Kilburn Labour Party; Nayra Bello O’Shanahan Unite; Mary O’Sullivan NUJ; Diane Pearson Camden Trades Council Delegate/Camden Unison; Simon Pearson Former Camden Labour Councillor/TSSA; Keith Perrin Unite Community; Chris Powell Camden Trades Council/UCU; John Purcell Unite Community; Paul Renny Schools Convenor Haringey Unison; Shezan Renny Haringey NEU Camden Momentum Officer Highgate Branch BAME Officer Holborn & St Pancras Labour Party; Ian Saville UCU & Equity; Martin Sherry RMT THSC London Underground; Sean Taylor Musicians’ Union; John Tymon Camden Unison Retired Members.