How long before cops all over the country are crawling out of bed at daft o’clock in the morning and shouting… Where the fcuck are my PSU* boots?
On the eve of the Trades Union Congress Annual Conference, several of the most outspoken and militant public sector union leaders are threatening a ‘winter of discontent‘. They are forecasting (and hoping for) an even greater level of public disobedience than was seen when the Poll Tax was introduced during the late 1970’s.
BBC News: TUC chief Brendan Barber has said the public will not accept large-scale spending cuts, as trade unions gather in Manchester. Mr Barber said unions would reach out to the wider community to form a “progressive alliance” to make the case for alternatives to spending cuts. (Read full article)
As if the austere situation the country faces isn’t enough, now we have to possibly face unprecedented periods of work to rule and/or strike action.
One thing that already appears to have been conveniently overlooked by many union officials is, it is actually illegal for a large proportion of the public sector (i.e. the police) to take any industrial action. In addition to that, there is also a large proportion of the emergency services (also public sector) such as Ambulance and NHS workers who historically, tend to be ‘black legs’ (conscientious objectors) during periods of industrial action. That said, it is highly likely the more militant Fire Brigades Union will actually do an admirable job, in the name of their emergency service co-workers.
The big problem with all of this is the police, who face the same public sector financial cuts, are going to be the ones who have to shepherd, monitor and control any large groups of protesters all over the land. And in addition to any moral dilemmas those officers face, they are also likely to experience disruption to their family life. Yes they will be paid for the work (and overtime) they do however I have to ask; how comfortable would you feel knowing that in effect, you are standing against those who are actually arguing your corner?
Apart from the massive cost to the nation (which we can ill afford), it remains to be seen if the TUC predictions for “high levels of public support” will actually materialise? We may have turned into a society has a larger percentage of public sector workers than ever before however, there is still a very large private sector contingent who believe; the public sector are just a bunch of winging, whining, lazy bums who live and work in a protected world.
I wouldn’t like to place bets on how it’s all going to pan out in the end however, I’m also not convinced the TUC will actually receive the public support they hope for?
It worries me that action may actually have an overall negative affect on ‘Britain at Work’ however, I am glad the police don’t have a retired reserve recal system like the military!
- UK unions to flex muscles ahead of government cuts (reuters.com)
- TUC warns of mass protest to budget cuts (channel4.com)
- Unions Threaten Strikes Over ‘Unfair’ Cuts (news.sky.com)
- Barber: ‘Public won’t accept cuts’ (bbc.co.uk)
- “Public won’t accept cuts – unions” and related posts (rocketnews.com)
- Co-ordinate cuts fight, says Crow (bbc.co.uk)