Friday, September 19, 2008

Now Might Be The Winter Of Our Discontent After All

Take a very close look at this photo.

It's a TSSA Official Picket. Unless you lived near the Arriva Trains North route a couple of years ago, you will never have seen one of these before.

This one is from the current strike by the TSSA on Arriva Trains Wales. TSSA, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, is the 'moderate' union in the rail industry, based in clerical and managerial grades, whose name even avoids the word 'union'. Prior to the Arriva strikes, the TSSA had not been on strike since 1926, when it was called the Railway Clerks' Association - and then only because everyone was at it.

The point being? The many doom-ridden commentaries about the unwillingness of workers to fight back may not be entirely accurate. Sure, so one strike does not a winter of discontent make, but if you want to find green shoots of the recovery of industrial struggle then you can. Elsewhere in the rail industry, you can find them in the recent pay victory by CBS Outdoor workers (the people who put up posters on the Tube) and the fantastic, but incomplete, win by Tube cleaners.

Moreover, TSSA's strike on Arriva Trains Wales has had a big impact on services because members of the other two rail unions - RMT and ASLEF - have refused to cross picket lines. So solidarity may be reborn too.

Labels: , ,