People Before Profit expresses our solidarity to the public sector workers taking strike action on January 18th. We believe that mass, coordinated and escalated workers action across trade unions is precisely what is needed to deliver better pay and conditions, and to cut through political dysfunction and communal division.
These workers and public services have borne the brunt of regressive Tory attacks for years. Growing health waiting lists and poverty, the deterioration of our schools, and the dysfunction of our public transport system are all linked to the underpayment of our public sector workers.
We do not for one second believe that there is no money to deliver fair pay and services. After all, the same Tories have no issue offering tax cuts to the wealthy, wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on privatisation, or sending millions to those who prosecute war on the people of Palestine.
These strikes should be a clear message to local politicians: make fair pay a red line for a restored Stormont. Workers should not be used as a political football by the Secretary of State who has pandered to the sectarian Stormont boycott of the DUP. Rather, the conditions of workers should be central to a deal which guarantees their demands.
If Stormont resumes without such guarantees on workers’ demands, we need an escalation of workers’ action to deliver fair pay and to save our public services from decimation. We cannot forget the rotten record of pay stagnation and Tory cuts delivered by a ‘functioning’ Executive. We cannot trust those same parties to deliver and the trade union movement should be ready to further flex the power of organized workers.
In the coming days People Before Profit activists will throw our weight behind striking workers by joining picket lines and using our platform to support trade union actions. In standing up for themselves, these workers are fighting for everyone who supports dignity, fair pay and a decent life for all.