The New Strikers: The Defeats of the Eighties Mean Nothing to Today's Young Activists, Who Are Not Afraid to Try Strike Action If It Works, Says Jeremy Dear, Trade Union Leader
Dear, Jeremy, New Statesman (1996)
In 1989, 14 of us working for the Essex Chronicle walked out on strike. Striking was not in fashion. After the defeats of miners, dockers and printers, the popular refrain at union meetings was: "If the miners can't win, what chance have we?"
But then our management, backed by anti-trade-union legislation and growing in confidence as a result of Margaret Thatcher's assault on workplace rights, sat across the negotiating table from us and literally tore up our agreement. We were left with no choice. For months we picketed, lobbied and toured the country on our way to a glorious defeat. It was the period of glorious defeats--and the National Union of Journalists notched up its fair share.
For a generation, media employers had the whip hand, and the number of strikes plummeted. In many years, the NUJ recorded not one day of strike action; across the trade union movement as a whole, strike statistics fell year on year. We were derecognised, demoralised and managing decline.
Today, strike action is again on the agenda, and not just in the NUJ, but across the movement. There isn't a TUC General Council meeting that does not include …
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Publication information: Article title: The New Strikers: The Defeats of the Eighties Mean Nothing to Today's Young Activists, Who Are Not Afraid to Try Strike Action If It Works, Says Jeremy Dear, Trade Union Leader. Contributors: Dear, Jeremy - Author. Magazine title: New Statesman (1996). Volume: 137. Issue: 4894 Publication date: April 28, 2008. Page number: 32+. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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