It is getting really hot in Great Britain. The situation reminds of the period of Margaret Thatcher’s rule and the year of 1984 particularly, when the struggle between the trade unions and the government went beyond the limits of the talks and went outdoors to end in street fights.
Workers of the airport of Manchester are to start series strikes until the government makes decisions concerning the demands recently made to the government. The workers object to the government’s decision to reduce the number of workplaces.
The trade unions are actively working now with the administration of one of the largest airports of the country. The airport workers have already started series strikes, the first ones lasted for 1-2 hours. To avoid more risk to the passengers, it was decided to organize short-term strikes.
The workers of the railways in the north of England, privatized by ARRIVA company, will go on strike for 48 hours on Tuesday – Wednesday (February 5-6). Their colleagues from the South will come out at the end of the month. If the government carries out its usual policy of promising too much and making no cardinal actions, the local strikes may turn into nation-wide strikes.
The situation in the Royal Mail is getting rather explosive too.
Margaret Thatcher managed to strictly suppress the trade unions in the 80s. Rehabilitation of the trade unions has lasted for about 15 years. Their activity is gaining force once again. A nervousness not typical of the British is seen everywhere: in the conversations of ordinary people, on TV and in the press.
A railway worker in Newcastle told me: “All the conservators and Labourites make me sick. Nothing changes. If it is necessary, I will come out, the way the people had done 10-15 years ago.”
Will Anthony Blair solve the problem or suppress it? The next weeks will reveal his tactic.
Svetlana Tarasova PRAVDA.Ru London,UK
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/05/36605.html