Friday 3 February 2023

A victory for one is a victory for us all

Kate Ramsden's speech for "Protect the Right to Strike Rally"

Kate Ramsden, UNISON proud to bring solidarity to all trade union members in struggle

Because a victory for one is a victory for us all

That’s the beauty of collective action – of standing together in solidarity and comradeship

That’s what the Tories and the capitalists fear

That’s why they are attacking our employment rights and our right to strike

They know that when we stand together we are strong

And that is why we are standing together now

Saying enough is enough

Our right to strike is a fundamental human right

It is essential to balance the power between worker and boss

We have seen the waves of strikes across the UK

Demanding decent pay for our members facing a cost of living crisis worse than we’ve seen in decades

Our members, dependent on foodbanks to feed their children and themselves

Facing an impossible choice between eating and heating

Yet we are still the 5th richest country in the world

The money is there for decent wages

It’s just that it is in the hands of the richest

The very people who don’t need it

The people who are running our country and bringing in these draconian laws

And here’s the thing – the supreme irony of it all

Our economy is a shambles – the worst in Europe

And the way to fix it is to put money in the pockets of ordinary people

People like you and me.

Workers who spend in our local shops and businesses, supporting the local economy

The people who pay our taxes

The richest do neither

They squirrel money away in offshore accounts and avoid paying taxes at all costs

Nadim Zahawi anyone? And he’s just the one that got caught!

Don’t be fooled

The money is there and keeping wages down is a matter of political choice

And they are NEVER going to make that choice through discussion and bargaining

Not this government!

So it’s choice we can ONLY resist by withdrawing our labour – by going on strike for above inflation pay rises

So we will NOT let this government, a government of and for the greedy rich – take away our right to strike.

We all know the law is unnecessary – compassionate trade unionists will ALWAYS make sure people are not placed at risk through our action – which is more than we can say for this government.

This is only the start. Today’s massive action across the country – alongside the protests and rallies – is only the start

And we have the support of the public who have woken up to the mess this government is making – to the unfairness and the inequality

When we stand together we can win.

Solidarity comrades