Strike Action

Stop Bill 115

It is taking away our democratic right

They say.

Bill 115.

No discussion.

No negotiation.

A direct command to do as we say.

It is undermining our democratic society

They say.

A society that others have fought for

And died for.

They are undermining our professionalism

They say.

Reducing our pay.

Not acknowledging our experience.

Silencing our voices.

It is time to take action:

To fight back against those

Who wish to dictate our actions.

Strike vote.

Solidarity.

Work to Rule.

Strike Action.

Fight against tyranny.

With democracy?

No choice given.

No divide and conquer.

Fight tyranny with dictatorship.

They take away our democratic right

I say.

Our ability to make professional choices.

To make our individual voices be heard.

What are your thoughts on strike action?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

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19 thoughts on “Strike Action

  1. A thought provoking piece of poetry Colline 🙂

    I am a Union member and was a branch officer for 12 years. My Union had a record of successfully negotiating with our employers and reaching amicable agreements without the need of recourse to anything more than an occasional work to rule or overtime ban. Then came the confrontational greed driven politics of Margaret Thatcher’s government. During the course of that we wound up out on the cobbles on more than one occasion although it’s fair to say that on the last occasion in 1984 we were locked out by the management rather than actually on strike! It was three weeks that caused all sorts of issues for the company and the employees. In the end a deal was struck and we returned to work (actually I think we got the better end of the deal with reduced working hours)… To this day the repercussions of that can still be felt – the management and the union both looked over the edge of the precipice and didn’t like what they saw. There has not been a national strike since and although there is occasional sabre rattling and some local disputes, the cycle of reaching sensible agreements nationally through negotiation has returned (although the management are becoming more militant in these banker induced times of hardship). In this post you can see me marching with some of my colleagues in 1978 when I was a branch committee member – the photo appeared in the Financial Times!

    The right to withdraw your labour is an essential tool in the armoury of any group of workers but it should always be used with extreme caution!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your interesting experience with us.
      I feel that a lot of the resistance people are exhibiting now could have been avoided if certain people had not taken a view of non-compromise. I am hoping an agreement can be reached as I have seen the backlash of teacher strikes in South Africa where the children were the ones who suffered the consequences.

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      1. No democracy at all. Those poor people who are forced to strike are so afraid of the union members because their homes are going to be burned down if the go to work. It’s horrible.

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        1. True. And in the end, so many lost their jobs anyway (I am thinking of the OK Bazaars strikes, and even the bus drivers strikes when people began taking taxis to get to work.

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  2. This legislation from the Ontario Government is draconian and in many ways a facist piece of legislation. Bill 115 fails all education workers and sets a dangerous precedent for all Ontarians. To call it the “Putting Students First Act” is the biggest lie any government could tell. This act does nothing to put students first. It is an unprecedented attack on free collective bargaining rights and may very well violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has nothing to do with “putting students first”. Don’t be fooled!

    Collective bargaining is essential to democracy. By legislating education worker contracts across Ontario, McGuinty Liberals have denied workers their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This in turn, is a threat to all collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors.

    Furthermore, Bill 115 allows the government the power to interfere with the right to strike and that is unacceptable. The ability to withhold your services (skills and labour) is crucial for working people no matter what the profession to ensure a fair, equitable and safe workplace. I support the Teachers and their fight to protect not only their own rights but mine and those of my neighbors, all across Ontario.

    The Ontario Liberals’ legislation is unconstitutional, Collective bargaining rights are essential to democracy: They are protected under the Charter for a reason. This governement has taken an approach to simple impose rather than allow actual Collective Bargaining for both sides of the table.

    Unions and progressives have warned that this legislation may just be the beginning. The proposed Protecting Public Services Act is more of the same. It would allow the government to determine the outcome of contract negotiations before they’ve even begun. That’s simple wrong and again the 99% are being asked to pay for the problems caused by the 1%. In no way would Public Services be protected but instead would be at greater risk! All in the name of privitization.

    The Union I work for has filed a legal challenge to Bill 115, and will do what it takes to ensure it is repealed. The Ontario Liberals cannot be allowed to get away with this flagrant disregard for democracy. We all collectively need to take a stand for all education workers, for all working people in this province, for our students, and all those who depend on public services. This is a fight worth fighting. In Ontario, we need to remember that a crucial public service is also our health care system which this governement is also attacking.

    Legislation affecting Ontario’s education workers is compounded by cuts to the Ontario Public Service overall, attempts to take control of pension plans, and chronic underfunding of social services including healthcare, education and social services is a price that Ontarians just can not allow to happen.
    Do I hear the word REVOLT! A line in the sand must be drawn!

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    1. When it comes down to it, I am hoping that most people realise the bill is a repeal of democratic rights. I do feel, though, that most will just think that their child is not going to school and they will blame the teacher (which is what I believe the government is hoping for). I have noticed that the media is focusing only on one issue; and not reporting that it is what it is – a way in which to take away the autonomy of a professional teacher. (And, as you suggest, the way to taking it away from other professionals who work in the public sector).
      Thank you for your input on this issue.

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  3. Striking has become a dirty word here in Australia, and so have Unions. It is nuts, if it wasn’t for unions and striking we would all be working 12 hour days and getting very little money for it. We all need to remember where our rights in the work place came from.

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    1. That is what is being said here. The teachers I speak to who have been teaching for a long time are very angry as the government now wants to take away things they have fought long and hard for (the sick days, the PD days). What angers them too is that the bill was passed with no discussion and negotiation (which is the essence of democracy).

      Like

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