This was first published on the following Facebook pages:
Basildon Socialist Party – https://www.facebook.com/basildonsocialistparty/
Thurrock Labour Left – https://www.facebook.com/thurrocklabourleft/
We’re now entering into the second week of strike action in Thurrock. I’ve been on a lot of picket lines but can honestly say I’ve never seen a group of workers stronger, more united or more determined. There are many things that can drive disputes – pay, terms and conditions, bullying etc; but often the underlying and most powerful motivator is that of standing up for one’s own dignity.
The council here is attempting to make these people thousands of pounds worse off a year. People who know they fulfil a vital job in the community. People who get up at 4am every day, covering ten miles in all weathers. The most galling of all is that the people responsible for this plan have spent the past year working from the comfort of their own home. The lazy supposition of bureaucrats on £200k a year that £24k a year is too much for those who have helped to keep our society running. That cuts deep for people.
How these workers have come together has been an inspiration for me. The man whose father passed recently and whose mother has been spending every evening taking her mind off things by baking cakes for us every day. The guy whose father was a dustman and who always wanted to be one himself, spending 30 years watching the job run down by those who think we’re not worth anything more than a poverty wage. The fella in his 60s who remembers standing with striking workers in Wapping, getting battered by the police and who is now standing up for the livelihood of himself and his son.
‘Heroic’ is a term bandied around a lot but for me it applies here. Facing down a political machine pumping out lies on a daily basis, standing up to threats from swaggering management, standing on a picket for days on end for basic dignity and respect – that is heroic. The voice of the Thurrock refuse workers should be amplified by all of us; the idea that working class people built everything in this world and it is us that keeps it moving. The very basic idea – ‘we deserve better.’
If you want to join us in showing solidarity with the workers, we have an A4 poster you can download, print off and put up.
You can download a PDF of this poster from here