Solidarity with UK unions on national ‘right to strike’ day

Strike, UK

Ireland’s largest public service trade union, Fórsa, has sent a message of solidarity to trade unions in the UK today, as the TUC marks a national ‘right to strike’ day.

An estimated 500,000 workers are on strike today, marking the biggest day of strike action in the UK in decades, while dozens of rallies organised by the TUC are also set to take place across the country.

In a message to TUC leader Paul Nowak today (Wednesday), Fórsa general secretary and ICTU president Kevin Callinan said the union’s national executive fully supports the stand taken against the UK government’s new anti-strike laws:

“Nobody should lose their job if they take lawful action to win a better deal. Our union recognises the scale of the threat posed by this anti-strike bill being pushed through parliament.

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“The UK government is acting with impunity regarding workers who have been forced to withdraw their labour in the face of an intense cost-of-living crisis. As an employer, we’ve witnessed this Conservative government transition from applauding essential public service staff to threatening them with the sack at alarming speed.

“Union members across the UK rally against this legislation today. Fórsa applauds their efforts and supports them every step of the way, and we share the view of the TUC that the legislation is unworkable and almost certainly illegal,” he said.

Among the workers striking today are teachers across England and Wales. Mr Callinan said a decade of meagre earnings in the UK’s state-funded school system has forced many take up second jobs, or to leave the profession altogether: “That any public servant is forced to do this, or relies on food banks to put food on their table, is indicative of policies that have inflicted very serious damage to individual workers, households, communities and society.

“Legislating to ban or restrict the right to strike is damaging in the same way. It demoralises workers, breaks down any sense of social cohesion, and tears up any remaining idea of a social compact.

“The UK government needs to stop and consider how much harm it’s doing. It needs to consider why there’s so much industrial conflict at its door, and to be realistic about the value of a negotiated solution,” he said.