Thursday, 4 November 2010

Striking Issue 2: BBC...

Mark Thompson's email to the BBC staff is all well and good:

On paper it sounds fair. An accord has been reached with the unions and we're all "in this together". The BBC as per usual worried that the public will object to the BBC not feeling some of the pain.

Thing is whilst everyone will have to rethink pensions as our old people heavy population stretches its resources further than they'll reach. But there is somewhere we can find money: Cutting the obscene salaries and expenses of management like Thompson.

And while we're at it slash the obscene salaries of the "talent". If they want to take their talent elsewhere then fine. There is other talent out there. Plenty. Currently not getting a chance. And most talent will stay since the BBC is still a much bigger audience reacher than any private companies.

As for striking, well I much prefer unified strikes rather than individual strikes. I want to see everyone arguing all the cuts need to be attacked, rather than that their own needs and industries are more important. I want to see a situation where those without access to unions get the same rights and freedoms as the unionised. And I want to see unions whose executives get paid reasonable salaries and do not support the basic dominant logic of culture.

That said the BBC isn't the Transport service, whose strikes screw over the poorest commuters and cause real problems for people. The BBC isn't the fire service whose decision to strike tomorrow may result in death and destruction across all areas of society (though you can bet the poorer people will suffer worse).

I am a believer in the BBC. I think its independence is really important. Yes, its flawed and could be improved in terms of its commissioning and its salaries, but its the best we have. I want to push it to be better. But I think if it is a casualty if this administrations attack on culture this will be terrible.

But all that said it isn't an essential service. Striking will only show people what they would miss. It wouldn't be as hard for the public to support as the strikes of needed services that hurt those already struggling.

This makes Thompson's position pretty weak. Especially as he is just lying down and taking the governments medicine. Twitter is alive with people who are #ProudoftheBBC. But its exec are meekly accepting its erosion.

The BBC strikers should go ahead. They should change their negotiations to: find the pension funds by reducing the salaries of the overpaid at the BBC. That would avoid any decrease in the quality of the services.

The only decrease in service quality will come from the governments cuts. And those decreases should be shown. If we all paper over the cracks no one will see them until everything falls down.

And the BBC strikers should unite with all the other strikers. With no Union accepting anything till an agreement that works for everyone is reached. Or else they should instead engage their members in direct action protests and find alternative ways to fight these fucking cuts.

Direct action: John Pilger -

But the cuts have to happen... NO THEY FUCKING DON'T. And their effect will be much much worse for us all:

Striking Issue 1: RMT...

(these commentaries on strikes are written using thumbs as facebook notes and tweets)

So far this tube strike has caused me to miss a great one off gig, now it makes me get up at six and severely bus it. Solidarity depleted.

But... obviously - if we are going to attack them though we need to REALLY be in it together.

RMT should be striking against ALL cuts. They should be striking with/for everyone. Even engaging in different forms of collective action.

Alternatives to single issue strikes

No 1: Collectively refusing to pay council tax until the welfare system is assured. We pay our taxes for the public good and if they are not being used that way then we should withdraw them.

No 2: Protests and shut downs such as those currently happening to make Vodafone pay its 6bn tax bill. Other good targets: Banks, Parliament, The City. Transport or fire service strikes make life harder for working and poor people. They aren't to blame. They can't take it. It is those with the money and power we should be opposing.

No 3: Striking with as many other unions as possible against all the cuts and for taxing rich/bankers/etc... as the most obvious immediate alternative.

No 4: A REAL general strike with everyone involved. The right to strike needs to be universal. Available to all whether they pay into a union or not. We should all insist on this. It allows for general strikes, stops people being forced against their principals to cross picket lines and allows people to opt out of unions without disenfranchising themselves.

(Also if the RMT are taking my advice they should really stop paying its leaders such high salaries. And stop asking for pay increases to their well paid staff. Oh and get rid of Bob fucking Crow.)