As Britain moves into an autumn of strikes – and the Labor Party comes under pressure to come up with ideas to tackle the cost of living crisis – and support the disruptions – we see that (mainly) union leaders become a powerful force of opposition to the conservative government.
From lawyer leaders to dumpster collectors, here are some of the figures fighting for the rights of their members.
Sharon Graham, Secretary General, Unite
Graham has led Unite, Labor’s largest subsidiary, since August last year. He openly addressed the party’s reluctance to support the strikes head on by threatening to stop his funding, saying he would no longer tolerate the “political tail … wagging the industrial dog”.
Unite, a private sector general union, has a number of members who plan strikes, including workers in garbage, metals, universities, funeral homes and rail and bus networks, as well as on docks. Since Graham was elected to lead the union, one of the largest in the UK, he has won 80% of the disputes, benefiting members by £ 150 million.
Christina McAnea, general secretary, Unison
McAnea became the first woman to lead the UK’s largest union in January last year, replacing Dave Prentis. Members, including AQA review board staff and garbage workers in Scotland, go on strike this summer, with more workers likely to follow suit. In July, you said: “Unions, like ours, remain the last line of defense, so we must be ready for what is to come.”
Jo Sidhu QC, president of Criminal Association of bars
Jo Sidhu QC, who said the legal system was “gripped by a crisis of epic proportions”, has already led criminal lawyers to a series of strikes, forcing many courts in England and Wales to close. This week, its members have voted for an indefinite strike since September 5th. The CBA said the government’s offer of a 15% tax hike was insufficient after a 30% drop in income over the past two decades.
Mick Lynch, general secretary, RMT
The no-nonsense leader of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has in recent months achieved a level of public recognition rarely granted to union leaders. In dozens of media interviews, including a much celebrated removal of Piers Morgan, Lynch has been calm and often funny. He recently said he wanted to encourage other union leaders “to put up the industrial flag”. “
Strikes across the rail network called by RMT, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) have already caused major disruptions, with Lynch saying more strikes are likely.
Dave Ward, general secretary, CWU
Dave Ward, secretary general of the Communication Workers Union since 2015, will lead post workers on strike after members voted overwhelmingly to stop work earlier this month. Ward, who started as a delivery boy at the Tooting delivery office in 1976, said: “In these times, workers need more safety at work, not less.” The CWU said Royal Mail’s 5.5% payment offer equals a 2% increase at a time of rising inflation. Royal Mail said it was losing £ 1 million a day and threatened to dissolve the company.
Patrick Roach, general secretary, NASUWT
The teachers’ strike this fall seems increasingly likely after Dr. Patrick Roach, the general secretary of NASUWT’s education union, said he will vote for strikes with a proposed 5% salary increase, after calling for a 12% raise. . Midlands-born Roach, who took over NASUWT in 2020, said the government’s proposals are “far below what teachers are asking for, after a decade of real wage cuts and the current cost of living crisis. “.
Elsewhere in the education sector, the University and College Union (UCU), which represents academic staff from universities and colleges, plans to vote for strike in the fall, as does the National Education Union (NEU), which represents education workers.
Matt Wrack, general secretary, Fire fighterss Union
The Twitter bio of Matt Wrack, Secretary General of the Fire Brigade Union since 2005, reads: “Troublemaker. Adversary of the status quo. The main enemy is at home ”.
In June, Wrack predicted strikes and urged members to turn down a 2% “insulting” pay offer, starting the voting process, saying the offer “would deliver a further cut in real wages to firefighters in all. the roles in the middle of the cost of living crisis ”.
Pat Cullen, general secretary, RCN
Since its founding in 1916, the Royal College of Nursing has only gone on strike once. But this week, Cullen, his secretary general, began a tour of NHS workplaces to garner support for the strike in a vote that will close in October. Cullen, who took office last year, said the staff shortage was putting patient safety at risk and had left the RCN “with no choice.”
Doctors and other health workers are also preparing to strike for wage increases of 4-5%, as inflation approaches 13%. In July, the new president of the British Medical Association (BMA), Professor Philip Banfield, said a doctors’ strike was “inevitable” and would reveal how dangerously worn conservatives had left the health service.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary, PZ
Serwotka, a 22-year veteran of the trade union movement at the helm of the Union of Public and Commercial Services, the Union of Public Employees, will lead the strikes of workers in the judiciary courts, as well as the staff of the Department for Business, Education, Innovation and skills in the coming weeks.
In June, it predicted “higher levels of trade union action in the public sector unless the government takes decisive action to address the cost of living crisis.”