Friday, 20 November 2015

Industrial action?

To strike or not to strike.....

The current threat from young doctors is extraordinary no matter which side of the political divide you stand on.

When I was very young indeed striking was considered the ultimate weapon in the working mans grasp. My welsh grandad had gone on strike during the thirties. It was not something he did easily. As a miner in South Wales conditions in the mine were dangerous as well as badly paid. To strike meant the whole family suffered hunger because the only bread winner couldn't provide...it was not something you did easily...

After the strike was resolved my grandad was "locked out" as were many others . They had to find ways of supporting their families outside the mining system. Many simply walked north looking for work.

I heard many storys as a little girl to convince me that striking was an absolute last resort because in any family it was the relations of the striker who suffered most!

When my dad was a full time union official he headed off several strikes, going out in the middle of the night to talk down angry night workers in the newspaper world. He regarded a strike as a failure on his part!

The workers today are living in a different world than the one both before and after the war...but I still believe that no one chooses to withdraw their labour lightly.

I have never gone on strike. The nearest I ever came was during the Thatcher governments reorganisation of the education system. I was then a supply teacher and always refused to cover for striking colleagues..it was the only way I could show my support.

I have no idea whether the strike by the young doctors is justified or not...but the very fact that they are even considering it shows how serious things are becoming . When dialogue between employees and employers involved in health care , breaks down, the rest of us are in danger...

I hope all those concerned start listening to each other ....soon.

 

2 comments:

  1. It's a small world, isn't it? My maternal grandfather was a coal miner first in West Virginia and then Illinois.
    I remember him striking only once, but my grandmother would tell the story of the West Virginia strike. My grandfather and many other miners had to swim across the Ohio river to escape the violence.
    My grandmother was pregnant with my mother, and had her early because of the stress. She was so small and they were so poor that to the only way she had to keep my mother warm was to put her in a shoe box, build a small fire in the cook stove, leave the door open, and set her on the door.

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    1. It is indeed a small world Mary....and of course memories of events like this are bound to colour our views in later life!

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