We had a solidarity gathering at Hastings Station – for – well, do you remember them? “They” are our essential workers. “They” are, essentially, us. But, since more and more trade unions have announced industrial action due to the neglect and underpayment of essential workers, the newspapers and our government have been trying to tell us that “they” (meaning our essential workers) are messing up “our” country.
So, “they” – that is, we, had a gathering at Hastings Station to remind “them”, that is politicians, why there are so many strikes this winter. It’s because of the cost of living crisis – because of the huge rise in bills and prices which (by chance, would they have us believe) appear to be growing along with corporate profits, whilst our wages stay the same, or our jobs are degraded which means pay going down.
Santa came along, and seeing him reminded me that if and when politicians do anything to help “them” (that is us), they act as though they are giving us some sort of expensive present, and they say they can’t afford to do that just now, having spent all our money on – what? – getting us out of the mess Boris Johnson and Co made of Brexit, or COVID? Or the last chancellor but one or two’s attempts to “do economics”?
Well, we know different
We heard from Dean, an RMT rep, about the struggles train and station staff are having to get across the threat to their wages and conditions; we heard from Simon, of Hastings and District Trades Council, about the up-coming rally for ambulance and fire crews (midday on Wednesday, Hastings people – do please go along to the ambulance station in Bohemia Road, and hear from our emergency service workers); we heard from Antonia, a local nurse, about how nurses often end up doing the equivalent of a whole shift for free in the course of an over-worked, understaffed week in our NHS hospitals. Amazing really, that politicians like Wes Streeting manage to ignore all that and then call NHS workers lazy, or hostile, when they ask for help; and we heard from Kevin about the cleaners working for Churchill, workers who are still battling to get a living wage for taking care of our trains and stations.
Oh, and we also heard from me, as a member of the public – a user of services. Because we really are everyone – this is our battle. We want our public services to be just that – services to the public: health and transport, cleaning and retail and and education, all those things that make the country run properly – We remember how all these people who make our world work were called key workers – essential workers – during the COVID crisis and now, we see our government failing to look after them and millionaire bosses failing to pay them properly, and we simply are not willing to put up with it.
RMT picket line – a cold, early morning task. The don’t do it for fun.
Please don’t forget – you are “them”. You are the “them” who are holding the country to ransom, and ruining Christmas, and all the other things you accuse us (working people) of. You are holding us to ransom and ruining Christmas by failing to deal with the cost of living crisis, by failing to organize the health and transport services, the housing and cleaning and all the other things we pay you to organize. What are you for? If you won’t look after our people, why on earth should we support you?
Dear newspaper and television reporters,
Please don’t forget – you are “them” too. If you won’t report honestly on the problems our essential workers are facing, why call yourselves reporters at all? Why should we pay you any attention, if you repeat government lies, and don’t tell our stories?
Dear opposition politicians,
Where are you? Our government is failing us, and we are fed up of hearing wannabe government leaders from other parties criticizing our attempts to fight back. If you don’t support us, if you treat us like some enemy “them”, we won’t vote for you. Yes, our government is failing us, but we want a BETTER one. A government that works for us.
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