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Strike one…

Submitted by on December 1, 2011 – 5:22 pmNo Comment

Striking back is great. Teachers, Cooks, Lecturers, Cleaners, Binmen, Headteachers, Care-workers and many more local government workers were compelled to action by the despicable shenanigans of a minority Government who represent the overly rich and greedy.

Not only do the Liberals and Con-merchants want us to work for longer, they also want us to double the amount of pension contributions we pay. Given we have had a pay freeze for the last two years, it is the same as a pay cut. All this is happening at the same time as the MPs increase their own pension and the banking executives give themselves a 50% pay rise.

The school I work at was closed as were most schools in the region (nine out of ten according to the department for education). I met up with my work colleagues on Liverpool Road so that we could vent our anger collectively. We felt like old veterans at striking and marching, having been out on strike the last time when the sun was high and the air was warm. Although the analogy with old timers stopped there as the teachers at my school like the majority of the demonstration were young and untainted by the defeats of the past. Yes, they are new to protest and resistance, but they are joyful and determined.

The demonstration was a happy affair, noisy and loud but missing political chanting and slogans. This will come with a new creative and imaginative vigour. There was no overt outrage at the Tories scum’s wrongdoing, but there was a quiet indignation and resentment at the injustice and inequality of Tory Britain.

Jenny, a deputy head teacher at a primary school in Moss Side said: ‘This is only the beginning, they [the Tories] will start to get dirty as our action hurts them, but we need to make the sacrifices necessary to protect the future for our children’.

I loved walking beside my workmates, collective strength, unity and solidarity. It gave me a new-found respect for them, they were no longer just the people I worked with, they are now my comrades in struggle. Win or lose we will always have this strike action, we will go on our Christmas dos and talk about the time we went on strike, the day we took over the streets of central Manchester. We walked, head held high, closed the roads, filled the streets from one side to the other.

Manchester had become, for a very brief time, a city of the working class – Tory propaganda dispersed, Tory lies torn and trodden on. We were one, we the many. The Lion stirred but not awakened. On that day of strike action you could feel the might and power that will be unleashed in the future – and when it is, the rich will need to run far and fast because the revenge will be swift and painful.

Midjmo adds:

The propaganda machine predictably kicked in this morning, but for those of us there on the streets of our cities yesterday the truth was plain to see. At least 20,000 people snubbed the opportunity to go Christmas shopping, much to the disappointment of the right wing media, and they made their voices heard in a positive, peaceful and unified manner.

Those marching weren’t the militants that the Tories would have you believe were driving this strike action, these were ordinary people, many of them taking part in industrial action for the first time. Women and children were hugely represented. They will bear the brunt of the Tories’ ideological war on working people and they are prepared to fight against the disgusting policies this unelected elitist government is seeking to introduce.

As we marched, many passers-by stopped and applauded. The propaganda battle has been a damp squib for Cameron, Clarkson and their friends. Only one office building featured outright hostility bearing poorly written signs about ‘why should we pay for your pensions’. The irony being that those marching all pay for the pensions of the private sector too – by way of the government’s policy of subsidising companies who contribute to schemes.

It’s not about ‘us and them’, much as the Tories would like it to be. The message needs to get across to those in the private sector that they too should be campaigning for better pensions and better working conditions. They shouldn’t be falling into the trap set for them as they have been screwed by this and past governments – it is not the public sector workers they should be aiming their ire at. In the 1970s private sector pensions were far better than those in the public sector. The governments of the time brought in pay rises to equalise the anomaly. Unions have seen to it that the public sector has retained these conditions, while the private sector workers have failed to remain in, or join, unions and their power has inevitably dropped meaning they had no say as their bosses sought to maximise profits off the backs of reducing pensions and pay.

To those in the private sector – it is time to join unions and organise. It is the only way to achieve anything and the only way the government (be it Tory or the new Labour Tories) will take notice of you. The campaign must be continued and extended on the message ‘fair pensions for all’. This was just the start.

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