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Post: England went on strike


Passengers wait for a train during a rail strike at a train station in London. archive photo

Two years ago, a website appeared in the UK with all the information about the strikes in the country. There is an interactive map there. If you wish, you can find out who and what is not working in the neighborhood by entering your zip code into the search engine. This week, the map was more colorful than ever: postal workers and 70,000 university and college professors were on strike. Railroad workers, nurses, employees of the ministries of transport and interior, border guards, before the teachers’ strikes – the list is constantly updated, and local commentators ask a fairly reasonable question: where does everything go? The answer, as is often the case, is sought in history.

England experienced something similar almost a century ago. On May 4, 1926, a nationwide strike broke out in the country, despite the government officially banning all protests and threatening to use force. About two million people participated in the strike. Railroad workers, printers, port workers and loaders, shipbuilders, metallurgists and of course miners went on strike, so this protest action started. They fought against the mine owners who decided to lower wages and increase working hours.

To keep the country functioning somehow, the government hired scabs, they worked under police protection. For their part, the unions tried to establish their own strength: strike committees arose in the cities that controlled many aspects of life, it was primarily concerned with providing food. The Cabinet was seriously frightened by this development of events, especially since the memory of the revolution in Russia was fresh. Winston Churchill was chancellor at the time and suggested the use of troops, but his proposal was not supported. However, the strikers only lasted a week. After talks with government representatives on 12 May, they announced the end of the general protest. The miners resisted for a few more months, but then they gave up too – they agreed on additional working hours and lower wages.

The current government’s decision to cut public spending and increase the tax burden is certainly fueling the fire and helping union leaders persuade workers to take action. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is constantly reminded of his multi-million dollar fortune that allegedly prevents him from understanding ordinary people. It has already been revealed that Rich Sunak only employs paid doctors and has never encountered the quirks of the UK national health system, and his condition is now deplorable.

The strike, in which more than 300 thousand nurses will take part, is planned to be held on 15 and 20 December. It is stated that intensive care units and ambulances will operate normally in order not to risk people’s lives, while interruptions in the work of hospitals pose a serious problem in any case. The protest was organized by a union called the Royal College of Nursing. This is the first strike in the history of this organization for more than a century. The demand is for wages to rise 5 percent above the consumer inflation index, which is currently 14.2 percent. Negotiations with the government stalled. Prime Minister Sunak recorded a video message in which he noted that the nurses’ demands meant a 19 percent increase in their salaries and that “this is absolutely unacceptable” in the current economic environment.

UNISON, one of the UK’s largest unions, is currently voting among the 400,000 workers in the national health system, urging them to organize protests. The National Union of Railroad Workers declared a strike in the pre-Christmas period and in early January of the following year – eight non-working days were declared at the same time. Members of several other unions are going on strike, including teachers, bus drivers, dockers and brewers. The reason is the same for everyone – inflation of 11 percent.

In the UK, trade unions have traditionally been associated with the Labor Party. Prime Minister Sunak urged opposition leader Cyrus Starmer to appease the unionists. In response, he felt a natural desire to stop destroying the country: “Twelve disastrous years, then 12 weeks of chaos at the Tory party. For ten years the economy drifted aimlessly, and now its parachute is cut off and it crashes to the ground.” It’s time for Starmer to attack. The government’s room for maneuver is limited. The altar cabinet has made the fight against inflation its main target, but there is also an energy crisis that cannot be overcome with budget plans alone. According to British energy regulator Ofgem, the average home owner’s annual bill will be around £4,5k. The government will need to spend £16bn over the next three months to meet the 2.5k ceiling price.

The British economy is in recession. Sunak’s cabinet, like its predecessors, blames Russia for everything, and they allegedly had to tighten their belts because of it. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt urged the British to conserve electricity to avoid succumbing to “President Putin’s blackmail”. It was decided to spend £25m on an information campaign to this end: As a result, taxpayers will hear from ministers and celebrities that they need to turn down the temperature in the house and do the laundry at their own expense. night, so as not to overload the energy networks.

British leaders have succeeded in fomenting Russian hostility, but they are in financial trouble. According to opinion polls, 50 percent of Britons believe the government’s proposed budgetary measures will worsen their situation, while 70 percent disapprove of the cabinet’s work. The so-called “Cost of Living Crisis” in the UK is getting worse. A wave of strikes is unlikely to radically change anything – first of all, the British will suffer from it, who will not be able to go to the doctor, work or go on vacation. But the pressure on Sunak’s government will obviously increase, and besides, Britain did not vote for this prime minister: he owes his election to the 193 Conservative MPs who decided that the country needed just such a leader.

Source: Ria

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