Going on strike is always an action of last resort; but you’d be forgiven for thinking that so many working people taking to the streets to say ‘Enough is Enough’ might get the Government working out how to fix the underlying causes of the problems.
A logical response to such a visible cry from the people who keep our financially starved public sector going, might be to start talking and then finding solutions to the economic and social problems workers are experiencing.
Unfortunately, you’d be wrong because instead of taking responsibility for the mess they’ve created, the Tories are behaving like a recalcitrant toddler that thinks you can’t see them if they cover their face.
Instead of sitting down and talking to the very working people they were praising and clapping during the pandemic, they are pitting themselves against the nurses, the doctors, the teachers, the firefighters, the posties, the transport workers and all those who keep the country moving.
The Tories have always seen organised labour as a threat and believe that by repressing the collective voice of trade unions, they can reduce the noise and carry on as before.
The power to dismantle trade union rights
By dismantling the means for trade unions to act through one malicious piece of anti-trade union legislation after another, they consistently fail to recognise that behind the union banners are millions of working people who just want a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
Outside the Westminster bubble, people are struggling. There’s a reason why these strikes are bigger and more disruptive than any for over a decade – Industrial action is being taken by groups of workers who usually stay silent. This should be a wake-up call for the Tories, time for them to think again about the direction they’re taking this country. Time for them to think again about putting workers first. But instead, they choose to not just continue with their failed agenda but to grind down working people and their right to strike through legislation too.
Over 100 years after the right to strike became a fundamental human right, the Tories have put in place yet another piece of anti-trade union legislation, to prevent working people from their right to down tools.
The Minimum Service Levels Bill
The Minimum Service Levels Bill means that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and fired if they don’t.
Workers face being sacked if they refuse to cross picket lines, even when they have legally voted to go on strike.
The Bill is an attack on working people and undemocratic. It is being rushed through Parliament without proper consultation or scrutiny.
The people need to be heard.
The Westminster system is failing to represent the UK in the 21st Century. In the Commons, the prevalence of ‘safe seats’ under Westminster’s voting system, means that once a seat is in an MP’s hands, it may be theirs for decades. It’s no wonder so many people feel disengaged from politics – in hundreds of seats, only one candidate seems to stand a chance.
Defenders of First Past the Post often argue the system delivers so-called ‘strong government’. Instead, it gives us erratic results and power-hoarding governments.
The built-in trade off within the First Past the Post system is that proportionality is sacrificed in order to artificially create the conditions for single-party government. The system is designed to give a ‘winners bonus’ to ensure this – at the expense of voter choices.
A system biased towards the Conservatives
The current electoral system has a built-in bias and now substantially favours the Conservative Party and works against Labour. That means even given an equal number of votes, Labour is likely to lose to the Conservatives.
Add to the mix that the Conservatives dominate the right of politics, whilst the left of centre parties are competing with each other. At the 2021 local elections nearly half of the wards (48%) there was one unified ‘right’ party (the Conservatives) standing candidates against all three of the ‘left’ parties (Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green). Labour stand to gain from changing the system but is being punished under the current one.
The smaller parties that favour electoral reform tend to be more closely aligned with Labour so a change in the electoral system is likely to create an essential shift for progressives.
Trade unions are now coming on board with the need for electoral reform. If we are to return to being a more democratic country where working people always have a seat at the table and their rights respected, then we need a proportional voting system.
Join the Politics for the Many campaign and get a voting system that works for working people.