UK unions suppress strikes for duration of general election campaign


UK unions suppress strikes for duration of general election campaign

Margot Miller

6 June 2017

In the run-up to the snap June 8 general election, the trade unions have sabotaged every struggle of the working class.

Workers in both the public and private sectors have been engaged in long-running and bitter disputes, including on the railways, at the Japanese-based Fujitsu, the carmaker BMW, as well as teachers and college lecturers.

These disputes have been ended entirely, or where the unions were unable to do so, they have only called further strikes well beyond election day. The unions have performed this service not only on behalf of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wants no association with actual struggles of the working class as he seeks election as a safe pair of hands for British capitalism. It is carried out on behalf of the ruling elite at a time when opposition to a decade of job losses and worsening pay and conditions is intensifying.

In response to pressure from their members, prior to the election, the trade unions had called single days of strikes or 48-hour strikes, on a plant-by-plant/company-by-company or regional basis, with limited picketing—utilising anti-strike legislation to justify minimising the effect of the action.

A planned walkout on May 30 by conductors in the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union, at Southern Govia Thameslink Rail, Arriva Trains Northern and Merseyrail, was cancelled. The workers are involved in a bitter dispute against the planned introduction of Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains, which threatens thousands of jobs and public safety.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash announced the cancellation of strike action, immediately, utilising the May 22 suicide bombing at Manchester Arena and citing the “heightened…

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