It makes no sense for the TUC to postpone congress and for some unions to suspend their strikes to show respect for the period of mourning for the Queen’s death. All credit to UCU’s GS, Jo Grady who argued against doing so at the General Council of the TUC. Only one of a small minority of GS to do so.
The employers and the government want to use the death of an elderly woman to push the idea that we all share a national interest represented by the monarchy. The wall-to-wall coverage of the pomp and ceremony over the next ten days is intended to encourage deference and normalise class society. These are the very structures that trade unions exist to oppose and that workers must overcome in order to defend their working conditions and standard of living.
The employers are not pausing their attacks on us during this ‘period of mourning’. They are determined to continue to use rising inflation to drive down the value of workers’ pay. The employers and government will be acutely aware of the demobilising impact the next ten days will have on the strikes and campaigns and will use it to their advantage to regroup and plan their next attacks.
So why should we declare a ceasefire?
The UCU rising and the FE pay campaign is going ahead as planned. We must not lose the momentum around the GTVO campaign and the preparation for strike action to be taken by 30 FE colleges.