On the 30th of November 2011, the United Kingdom saw the biggest day of industrial action in over 30 years. Here is my analogue coverage from the edge of the picket lines.
The strikes across the UK on the 30th of November this year was planned by the trade unions in response to government proposals in order to change the pensions for public sector employees. As I work as a civil servant in the probation service, pay a pension and am a union member, it goes without saying that I was supportive of the strike action through my union Napo. Without getting too technical, the changes to pensions would result in the average public sector losing 12 days pay per calendar year. You can read more about the changes to pensions on my union website.
Being only 26, I have never been a member of a union before, let alone one who is taking strike action so I was keen to get as involved as possible. I think that standing up and showing the government is important and it feels amazing to do this en masse as we were on the 30th of November. I volunteered to picket at the work gates and arrived at 7am whilst it was still dark. The picket was an important opportunity to talk to people who were still undecided about whether or not they’d be on strike that day, telling people about the pension plans for those who didn’t know and showing the public what we were doing and drumming up general support. I had never had an experience like this and although of course I would prefer that it had not been necessary, it was a great bonding experience with my colleagues and I would like to think that our early morning efforts on the picket line made a difference, even if it was only a small one.