Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 19 July 2002

Summer of discontent 2002 / Winter of discontent 1978 - Labour's Achilles heel

Public service unions held their first national strike Wednesday 17th since the last major bout of strikes, dubbed the 'winter of discontent' almost 24 years ago, the strikes which led the following year to the last Labour government being turfed out of office in May 1979. They blame the government for holding down council pay. Half a million council workers obeyed the call for a one-day strike. Thursday 18th was the turn of transport - the strike yesterday by RMT resulted in the cancellation of 90% of Tube services in London and virtually gridlocked the capital's road network. More strikes are likely. Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, apologised to the public for the disruption, but said more stoppages were likely: "I can't see any other way. We are out because London Underground has taken no notice of our concerns." P&O tanker drivers are scheduled to begin a 3-day strike today, according to a union spokesman; this is over an 8% pay claim which compares with the 4.5% offered by P&O and rejected by the union; petrol distribution is likely to be hit.

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