Saturday, December 04, 2010
But even leaving that to one side, the response to this strike is ominous for all of us. For the government, determined to crush the strike, declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. And under martial law, the strikers could be subject to prison sentences for up to six years for sedition if they didn't return to work. Quelle surprise, the workers have felt compelled to return to work. In fact, just in case the threat of prison wasn't sufficient, the workers were actually rounded up by military escorts and marched back to work at gunpoint. This is not the first time that fascist-era legislation has been used against airport workers. But employers across the continent will be looking on in admiration and anticipation. BA, you can bet your last penny, would love to have muscle like this at its disposal. And we have to be attentive to this, because there are people in this country in prominent positions who would like to ban the right to strike for some of those groups of workers who are most likely to be on strike in the coming years - tube workers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, others at a pinch. The employers' offensive across Europe is being led by the state, and pushed through the state, and that gives it a potentially lethal edge. Don't take your eye off this.