Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Unions’ call for strike is a bit rich

I am generally always on the side of the worker.

When working people go on strike, particularly those who are well down the food chain, I know it’s not a decision they’ll have taken lightly.

Putting their livelihoods on the line is not something people do just for the hell of it. Whatever the bosses and the banking classes might imagine.

These are also the people most likely to be hit by public service cutbacks.

But all that said I still think union leaders may be misreading the situation when they start talking about mass strikes to protest at the Government’s plans to tackle recession with funding cuts.

Something has to give.

TUC leaders do have a point about the poorest always being hardest hit in times of a recession. But it’s difficult to see how hitting them further in the pocket and in some cases endangering their future through strike action is going to make it better.

Many, many working people concerned about their job prospects will chose to hang on in there.

And any strikes which do go ahead will hardly help the overall economy.

Before it leads people out on to the streets wouldn’t it be more constructive for the TUC to work with the Coalition to try to protect the people it claims to represent?

It’s not just well-heeled politicians who need to grasp how very difficult and daunting the reality is for the low-paid in these scary economic times.

So, too, do some well-heeled union leaders.

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