Saturday 4 February 2023

Enough is enough - standing up for the right to strike

Over 100 trade unionists, community activists and members of the public joined the Aberdeen “Protect the Right to Strike” Rally on 1st Feb – part of massive UK wide protests against the latest anti-trade union legislation passed by this government.

Organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) the event was chaired by Kathleen Kennedy,  vice president of ATUC. Speakers came from a range of unions in struggle, including EIS, PCS and UCU, whose members had been on strike that day.

Jacob Campbell brought greetings from Unite. he had led a successful strike in Shelter which saw a wage rise for his members. 

Speaking on behalf of UNISON, branch co-chair, Kate Ramsden brought solidarity from our union to all workers in struggle, “our own members, south of the border and all our sister unions taking action locally and across Scotland.

“Because a victory for one is a victory for us all,” said Kate. “That’s the beauty of collective action – of standing together in solidarity and comradeship.

“That’s what the Tories and the capitalists fear. And 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.” See Kate's full speech here. 

Dod Ross from CWU brought solidarity from his members who have already taken 18 Days strike action and are balloting for further strikes. 

Dod said: "This is a campaign that shouldn’t need to exist. However, we are now part of a working world where suppression of pay, terms & conditions seem to be requirements we all must be expected to adhere and surrender to by business & government alike.

"Food poverty, child poverty, in-work poverty in the 5th richest country in the world is abhorrent.

 "We are in a real time crisis, not only working people but for all people, families & communities across the country."

Dod told the crowd that we are at a pivotal point in the country, where workplace unrest is on the rise, there is discontent on mass and we are at a point where we all here can say, Enough is Enough!" See Dod's full speech here.

Other speakers included Ann Joss of the RMT union, Rachel Shanks of UCU, Ross Cassie speaking on behalf of PCS and Doug Haywood from EIS, whose members are all in live dispute. Tommy Campbell read part of a letter from a Tollpuddle martyr to his wife from his deportation to Australia, reminding us of the struggles that led to our trade union rights and the importance of not allowing them to be rolled back.

If any of the other speakers wish to send me their speech I will be delighted to publish it in full.