Dark age of strikes is over for good
Thursday 16 June 2011
There are people in Britain's old mining villages or around Wapping in east London who are still not on speaking terms because they were on opposite sides of the bitter industrial conflicts of the 1980s. The resentment that strikers felt against workers who crossed the picket lines has endured for a generation.
Because of the huge numbers who are being called out in the next wave of strikes, it is almost inevitable that there will be strike breakers again – and their numbers are likely to go up rather than down if the dispute drags on. Occasionally, companies may boost the numbers of strike breakers by bringing in temporary workers – as during the Royal Mail dispute in 2009.
Strike breakers collect their pay while those on the picket line sacrifice theirs. And if the union representing the workers succeeds in wringing concessions from employers, the strike breakers pick up the benefits in the same way as the strikers. It is not surprising that they are resented.
But however great the ill feeling, they are not likely to experience the kind of intimidation that formed the dark side of disputes of the past. The law no longer permits mass pickets, which once made crossing the line a very daunting experience. And the communities in which today's public-sector workers live are not like the old pit villages, where all the neighbours knew who went on strike and who was a "scab". The unions will plead and cajole, but in the end no one will be forced to strike if they really object to it.
A Downing Street source said last night: "People have the right to strike, but they also have the right to work. If people want to work, they will have our full support."
- 1 Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 5 Like Jennifer Aniston, I am no less of a woman because I am childless
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Californian drought is so severe it's 'causing the ground to move'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...