Today’s Public and Commercial Services Union strike is taking place because the Government refuses to meet the Union to discuss pay, pensions, jobs and terms and conditions. I voted ‘yes’ to strike action, I agree with the purpose of the strike, and so I’m sacrificing today’s pay to join the protest. There are 3 other reasons why I am striking today:
1. I support most of PCS’s 10-step alternative to Osborne’s austerity plan. In particular, I support a rise in the minimum wage (but to the Living Wage), a cap on rents, nationalisation of the banks, and fairness on tax.
2. I believe the protection that unions (in general) offer employees and their ability to collectively bargain are essential elements in balancing the drive towards ‘efficiency’ (people working longer and harder, with less security and protection, for the same, or less, reward) which is an integral part of the unsustainable concept of ‘growth’ that forms the basis of our current economic system. Work should be for the benefit of all people, not just some people. Or to put it another way, without unions we really are screwed. So I’m also striking to support unions in general.
3. This blog is about empowering individuals to become engaged in activism and push for change on the issues that matter to them. In general, I think unions do a good job at working to empower individuals. For example, if you provide people with protection in the workplace then they are more likely to speak out against bullying and harassment, and they are more likely to blow the whistle when they see things going badly wrong. This is one of the reasons why morale in the public sector is generally quite good, despite Government policy.