The Strikers’ magic bullet.

The strikers’ magic bullet.

Practically the bullet can take many forms: a one day strike followed by two days, then three days and so on; different workers on different one day strikes in the same city; striking for a number of days between one and five in any one week. But what is being searched for in all these alternatives is an alliance of users and providers of services and goods.

This alliance is called for today by Gregor Gall, a professor of industrial relations. However, there is little detail of how this alliance is to be created; or even has already been created in recent strikes in Southampton.

There are criticisms of the recent smart strikes looking for the magic bullet. Specifically, if 97% have already accepted managements terms rather than face redundancy, then striking is a weak tactic. This argument does not seem to accept that striking gives workers an expression of solidarity, and still sends a message to management.

Workers are said not to want too many days action, as they lose income. But how many is too many? Also strike pay from the union is too low to support a long strike. But it was always thus! This will not come as a surprise to those who have already been on strike.

Practical arrangements of strikes apart, what is at issue here, and of some importance, is how is the alliance of user and provider to be created? Some simple points include informing users well before any planned strike; meeting users face to face in schools, bus stops, train stations etc.. Less simply there needs to be creative ways of putting out this information. Much more than statements of the union’s position on the strike needs to be communicated.

All this takes much thought and much time.


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