Workers in Sheffield, Manchester and London speak on the national rail strike | #teacher | #children | #kids

World Socialist Web Site reporters attended the Orgreave Anniversary Rally in South Yorkshire on Saturday to speak with demonstrators about the upcoming national rail strike. The event commemorates the June 18, 1984 “Battle of Orgreave” during the year-long miners’ strike. Police violently attacked a mass picket of miners of the British Steel coking plant, injuring well over 100 and charging 95 with riot, unlawful assembly and other offences.

Protesters on the Orgreave Anniversary Rally in Sheffield, England, June 18, 2022 (Credit: Twitter) [Photo by Lewis Dagnall]

A former miner, Michael, who worked at Dinnington and was involved in the 1984-85 strike, said that he supported the rail workers’ strike:

“For years the workers have been supressed, since the defeat of the mine workers. We were the most militant workers at the time and that’s why [Conservative Prime Minister] Thatcher had to try and destroy us. Now they are trying to destroy all workers who are fighting back. What they [Johnson government] are saying about the rail workers as ‘the enemy within’, I can see the parallels. The unions, TUC [Trades Union Congress] were responsible for our defeat. The rail workers can’t allow that to happen. So many workers are now striking as they are fed up of being attacked all the time when the rich are just getting richer.”

Michael agreed that the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will attempt to sell out the struggle and opposed negotiations with the bosses when none of their demands are being met. “I can see they are going to have a big scabbing operation, like they did with the miners. This must not happen. Workers and communities must unite and defend them. Their struggle is our struggle.”

Sam, a student science teacher, said of the rail strike, “I support all workers who want to take strike action to defend their livelihoods. I went into teaching as there is nothing else out there and I need to work to support my family. I know that it is really tough in education, with cuts and lack of funding. So many workers are being hit with the cost-of-living crisis. We need to unite against this government which is throwing people into poverty while they accumulate millions.

“I agree with an international approach. I always thought the unions were so ineffective and also did very little to protect their members, like during the pandemic. Companies organise worldwide, so it makes absolute sense that we should as well.”

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