Workers at the Morning Star newspaper staged an unofficial 5 minute strike today in open defiance of the Tory government’s Trade Union Act.
The brief walkout — taken after a workplace ballot this morning and coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the end of the General Strike — was a solely political strike to show the National Union of Journalists and Unite the Union chapels’ opposition to the new Act.
James Rodie, father of the NUJ chapel at the paper, said: “Nine days ago the biggest attack on workers’ rights in a generation got the nod from the Queen and passed into law.
“While elements of the Act were watered down, it remains at heart a rotten assault on British democracy, seeking to take away workers’ ability to defend themselves against further attacks on their living standards and wages and the continued fragmentation and sell-off of the public sector.
“We know that our small act of defiance today will hardly shake the government or force it to jettison its Act, but we want to send a clear message to the wider trade union movement that wherever workers are forced to break the law, we at the Morning Star will stand full-square behind them.”
Messages of support were received from across the labour movement.
Ian Lavery, Labour Party shadow minister for trade unions, sent his “support and solidarity” to the pickets.
He said: “The Trade Union Act is an absolutely unnecessary attack on the democratic rights of workers. It is further evidence, as if it were needed, of the utter contempt this government have for ordinary working people.”
Speaking from the Fire Brigades Union annual conference in Blackpool, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “I stand with the journalists and other staff at the Morning Star in this gesture of defiance against the Trade Union Act.
“The Act represents a savage attack on working people and their rights, and will inevitably lead workers to come into conflict with the law.”