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Who’ll go on strike?

Who’ll go on strike?

Big companies are posting big profits and paying large bonuses to management, while the vast majority of us struggle with pay freezes and layoffs.

September 8, 2010 2:01 by

In the UK, the city of London has had to find new ways to get to work after the staff of the London Underground network went on strike. They’re protesting against plans to axe up to 800 jobs. The action, expected to last all day, is set to cost the city around $75 million, and produce more chaos tomorrow as when the lines start up again, trains will not be in the right places. London Underground bosses say there will be no compulsory redundancies, but the Rail Maritime and Transport union, which is behind the strikes, says staffing numbers should be kept up because of safety and security concerns.

In France there’s more unrest. But the industrial action is bigger – much bigger. In fact it’s national. French unions are carrying out the one day action the same day France’s parliament was due to debate raising the country’s national retirement age from 60 to 62. The politicians say the move is necessary to avoid large and growing deficits in the pension system as people live longer and baby boomers start to reach retirement age. Unions say more than 2 million people walked out on strike.

And in India, banks were forced to close and airlines were grounded as strikers across the country protest against rising prices and job losses.

Given the actions on display in France, the UK and India, to name just a few, it seems this could well be the month for industrial action. And we wouldn’t be surprised if a few people in the region felt like downing their tools; Kipp reported just this week that in professional circles at least, bonuses are back, but they’re generally only headed for the upper management, while everyone else receives a pay freeze.

“Someone should stand up to them,” said a friend of Kipp who has been on the receiving end of some tough managerial decisions at their work. But the truth is, in this economic environment, who would? It’s hard enough to keep a job, let alone find a new one without a reference.

Could you ever be induced to stand up to your employers over bonuses or pay? Or is it too dangerous at the moment to risk being plunged back in the jobs market? Perhaps people should just be grateful to have any job at all.

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