Prime Minister David Cameron has described Wednesday’s strike, the biggest in this country since 1926, as “the height of irresponsibility”.
Standing up against unfair and unnecessary attacks on your pension doesn’t seem irresponsible – but here are a few things that are:
- Dismantling the NHS against the advice of doctors and wishes of patients
- Smashing youth services despite this summer’s discontent
- Cutting funding to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, making it even harder to stop tax dodging at a time when we desperately need the revenue
- Employing a profit-driven multinational to kick disabled people off benefits
Cameron keeps banging on about the disparity between private and public sector pensions as a reason for attacking the strike. If there’s a problem, it’s that private sector pensions in this country are a disgrace. That’s why people are striking under the slogan ‘Fair Pensions For All’:
Does Cameron even realise who he is telling to work for longer, pay more and earn less? He’s talking about lollipop ladies and headteachers, care assistants and university lecturers, teachers, construction workers and physiotherapists. They are pillars of our community. Without them, society would not function. We all rely on them. When the government attacks the unions, let’s remember who they are talking about. The unions democratically represent ordinary people, people who collect our bins, look after us when we are sick and educate our children. They are librarians, nurses and dinner ladies. They are making a stand, and losing a day’s pay to boot.
But this strike is about more than just pensions. This is the biggest day of action yet against austerity- anyone interested in opposing the government’s attacks on our public services should support the strike. Anyone outraged that the banks that wrecked our economy still haven’t been made to pay- whilst the rest of us are punished- should support the strike. Anyone outraged that the super-rich in this country consistently get away with dodging billions in tax should support the strike- the trade union movement has consistently been one of the most vocal voices calling for the government to tackle tax avoidance.
This strike is no storm in a tea cup– real trouble is brewing for the government if they continue to ignore the alternatives to dismantling our public services and slashing public sector pensions. The government and the banks have been mugging us off for too long. This Wednesday, take a flask of hot solidariTEA to the pickets and demonstrations, and don’t forget to send in your images of support. Let’s not fall into the government’s divide-and-rule trap — we’re all in this together, against them!