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Update on strike movement in Britain

Saturday 17 September 2022, by Terry Conway

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The article “Strikes and solidarity - hot autumn in Britain ?” was written anticipating that Liz Truss would become Prime Minister on 6 September. What wasn’t predicted when it was written is that Elizabeth Windsor, otherwise known as Queen Elizabeth II, would die two days later and that the establishment would impose a ‘ten day period of national mourning’ up to her funeral on 19 September.

Postal workers were on strike when she died and their union, the CWU suspended the strike for the following day. Not to have done so would have been used to undermine the very wide public support for this and other strikes. Future days of strike by these workers have been confirmed. The climate protestors Extinction Rebellion (XR) were due to a weekend of action in Central London immediately following the death and announced the day before it was due they had decided to postpone it. The new Truss government is packed full of climate deniers and had they not done so they would also have faced real vitriol in the media, Less justifiably, the rail union the RMT immediately called off their action planned for 15-17 September long before the funeral date was announced – and did so with a rather obsequious message of condolences.

Sandwiched between one Liz becoming Prime Minister and another dying, a young unarmed black man was shot and killed by police in South London through the windscreen of his car after a car chase. A series of protests have taken response in response to this outrage – the latest in a long line of killings of black people by the state which demonstrate their institutional racism. So focused have the mainstream media been on the death of one 96 year old that the largest of these demonstrations was reported by one outlet as part of the crowds mourning her death in central London – despite the visibility of placards making clear why they were there.

Meanwhile barristers have continued their all out strike and other trade unions have announced dates for future action. Well-attended local rallies around the cost of living crisis have been taking place in different localities. The material reality of the attack on working class living standards is cutting through the pomp and circumstance.

14 September 2022


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