How I learnt about solidarity

IMG_1613An IT worker explains how she learnt about solidarity.

In 2007 employees at my site were on strike. The company was attacking us on pay, union recognition, and any other agreements they wanted to bin.

I hate public speaking. But fellow strikers twisted my arm and I grudgingly agreed to accompany a colleague to speak at a union branch meeting. This meeting was in the evening and eighty miles away. I worked in the IT industry and the branch we were going to was for employees of an electricity vendor. Why on earth would engineers who repair the national grid be interested in hearing about the problems of some boring office workers? It didn’t make sense to me.

When we arrived they gave us a slot to speak later in the meeting. I sat down expecting to be bored while they discussed things that I didn’t understand. Was I wrong! Issue after issue was discussed, and they were just like ours – attacks on employees rights and pensions, and more. When the time came we gave our talk. Then they gave us their support and a donation, which we gratefully received.

As the strike went on I was amazed and touched by the support we received from all around the country from all sorts of people. Not just from IT workers, but from health and rail workers, from teachers and fire fighters and many many more. We’ve gladly returned that solidarity in the years since our dispute.

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