1st February – Half a million on strike in Britain

Strikers' rally in Cardiff, Wales on 1 February. (Photo from Ross Saunders)

Wednesday 1st February has been the biggest day of action yet in the growing strike wave over pay, terms, and conditions in Britain, with five unions taking national action: Education unions NEU and UCU, rail unions Aslef and RMT, and civil servants’ union PCS.

This demonstration of trade union strength is building workers’ confidence and shaking the Tory government, the bosses, and the whole capitalist establishment.

It has also been a day with many rallies around the country against the Tories’ new anti-union legislation – protests to defend the right to strike and show solidarity with the strikes.

By lunchtime, it became clear that the turnout was very large in many areas – tens of thousands in London alone; marking a significant step forward in the battle underway. More strike dates in education and rail are planned, and on Monday 6th February a 48-hour nurses’ strike begins, combined with a 24-hour emergency service and ambulance workers’ strike in most areas. The potential clearly exists for mass coordinated action to then be built further – to fight for the pay rises so urgently needed, and to defeat the Tories’ attack on trade union rights. Prepare for a 24-hour general strike!

See the editorial of the Socialist posted on 25 January: 1 February must be a start: Build for wider action on budget day – 15 March

Also see ‘Why we’re Striking’ testimonies in the Socialist:

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February 2023