Is the ‘s’ word really a bad word?
Strikes are the collective union of workers refusing to attend their jobs due to disagreements with their employers and/or the conditions required by the authorities above them. This often has negative connotations. To date there have been many strike related incidents especially in the UK. The question is, should strikes be allowed?
As we previously mentioned, there have been many strikes circulating in the UK. Some key examples are the: NHS, Teacher and TFL strikes. The NHS workers have been striking due to the understaffing, lack of respect and professional autonomy. Teachers and others in the education system strike for their lack of funding from the government and inadequate recruitment of teachers. Lastly, TFL workers are striking due to job cuts and disputes over their pensions. After analysing the causes of these particular strikes in greater depth, we can see a similarity: underpaid wages.
Striking is a form of protest, which is a democratic right we all have. By striking, workers can gain better remuneration by working together in a union. If workers are unhappy with their wages they have the right to strike. For example, teacher salaries in England fell by an average of 11% between 2016 and 2022. Therefore, they have every right to protest against what they find unfair.
However, there can be some downsides to striking. Such as, the negative impact it has on the public due to the lack of usual services. For example, on account of the 11,509 medical staff who were absent, 13,797 appointments and procedures had to be rescheduled, according to NHS England. This shows that striking can cause massive disruption for the public’s daily lives.
Even though it can cause disruption, we believe that workers should be able to strike and challenge authority when an issue arises. In the 1970’s, miners were striking over disputes about pay. During this time, there was a high inflation, similar to the current cost of living crisis. In the end, they had achieved an annual pay rise of 27% compared to the government’s wage restraint policy target of 7% to 8%. We have used this example to show how strikes can achieve goals over what was primarily expected.
We’ve discussed the meaning, we've discussed different views, and we’ve stated our opinion. So, back to our original question, is this “s” word really a bad word?