One of my readers asked this week about the forthcoming public sector strike.
My attitude to it is this; I fundamentally believe in the right to withdraw one’s labour. Despite owning a house and sending my kids to university I am a socialist at heart. I have never voted conservative, I am probably just over half way through my life (with a bit of luck and a following wind) and I can foresee no circumstance where I would vote conservative, my roots are deeply ingrained.
I believe that when you sign up to a job and they give you your terms and conditions on paper and in black and white, then they are the terms and conditions which you should enjoy throughout your employment. Should financial conditions of the people who set up and agreed to those conditions change, then it is for them to find a way to fulfil their obligations, not for the employer to forgo their rights in order that the employer can get out of the requirements they signed up to.
Should they wish to change those conditions, they should do so with the full agreement of everyone affected by the changes. If they decide to change them this should apply to Â people who join that employment from the day the conditions change.
People should expect to be treated fairly,Â renegingÂ on an agreement is simply not fair.
Now, as to the strike next week. I fully support it, I will back anyone who wants to go on strike. I won’t be working on the day of the strike so the moral issue of whether I strike or not is a moot point. I am not in a union and I am not part of the civilian pension scheme so I am not affected directly by the proposed changes. I will not be working until I am 67 or whatever it is they want my colleagues to work until whatever happens.
As to how many people are going on strike. Nobody knows. Police officers are being put on twelve hour shifts. Any of them who worked in the control room in the last 5 years are being dragged off the streets and out of offices to come and work in the control room, just in case enough people walk out to make it a problem.
I have not spoken with a single person who has said they are striking but they may be keeping their powder dry. I have met lots of people who say they are not striking.