On the Royal Mail strike picket line in Whitechapel, east London (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Hundreds of thousands of people have struck over the past few months because they don’t think they should pay for a crisis of inflation they didn’t cause. Recently, though, trade union leaders have started to argue they should.

Firefighters in the FBU union this week settled, without striking, for a backdated pay increase of 7 percent after their leaders recommended it. It’s a real-terms pay cut. Their leader, Matt Wrack, talked about balancing what bosses can afford with what workers might accept. Meanwhile, union leaders in Royal Mail say a pay settlement will be “difficult” because of bosses’ finances. 

There’s a real danger these sorts of deals could become the benchmark for what a good settlement looks like. The argument that we have to accept pay cuts and compromise could become the norm.

But there’s no reason it should be. Not when we remember how much money there is—how much profit the energy companies are making, how big the bonuses and dividends that executives and shareholders give themselves are.

Not when we remember how weak the enemy is. Rishi Sunak might pretend he’s brought stability to the Tory Party, but crises over Brexit, leaked WhatsApp messages, parties and bullying, are all simmering away. And not when we remember how strong we are. The united strike next Wednesday should be a reminder of that—and of what we’re striking for.

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