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Three workers tell us why striking is a last resort

September 28, 2019 No Comments

I work in the Essex Fire and Rescue Service Control Room. The reason we’ve had to go on strike recently is that the management board have changed our hours, meaning family work life balance has just really messed up staff’s lives basically. I myself don’t want to be job shared, but I’ve had to go to a job share position. Meaning I’ve had to take a big pay cut. The Fire Service wouldn’t be where it is today without us having had the right to strike. We’ve kept stations from closing. We’ve kept jobs from being lost. It is so important that people have the right to strike. Everyone should have the right to stand up and have their voice heard. I was involved in a campaign at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema with BECTU to get a living wage for the staff. We were on strike for three months. After 3 months we managed to negotiate a 26% pay rise, which was a really good success. We didn’t want to go on strike You miss out on a day’s pay, but essentially when you’re on a wage that doesn’t cover the cost of living anyway it’s a necessary sacrifice sometimes. You have a right to protect yourself and to ask for what you need to survive. In October 2014, for the first time in their 133 year history the midwives decided they needed to strike. Overwhelmingly we definitely had the public’s support. I think that made it easier for the midwives to strike, knowing that people were behind us. I never once thought I would have to take that right to strike. But even if you only use that right once every 133 years, then it’s something I think we should all be able to do.

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