Paul Mason comparing 1980s UK strikes with 2016 UK strikes
December 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
Predictably, the Conservatives are calling for more legal restrictions on strike action. Theresa May accused strikers of “contempt for ordinary people”. And – as always – the neck veins of TV reporters are bulging as they express outrage on behalf of those affected.
Yet, try as they might, the politicians and journalists have failed to stir up mob hatred against the strikers, some of whom – such as the Southern Rail drivers and guards – have been taking industrial action for weeks. And the reasons for this are obvious: they are ordinary people.
While the miners and steelworkers of the 1980s worked in relatively insular steel and mining towns, everybody knows a BA cabin steward, a train guard, a baggage handler or a Post Office counter worker. What’s more, because so much of our work has become modular, low-paid and deskilled, many people know, or can guess, exactly what they are going through.