Strike Blog / Ieuan Davies CWU South Wales

I was born just after the last major strike with BT and most of the country it seems. Alongside, many other people my age, we have never experienced industrial action to fight for our rights. It’s all been pretty cushty up until now. Times have been mellow over the last 3 decades for BT working classes until recently.

However, recent times have sparked a chain of events that have seen this new strike-less generation come out in force for the first time. I was worried originally with the strikes, with stories of three month, six month and twelve month strikes.

I thought how I can possibly survive with no money for months from the veterans of the game. We have been fortunate to only have 6 days over the course of a few months. However, the days of lost pay have put me in a horrible situation that I couldn’t dream to be in. Everything is going up in price and I need every penny I can get to provide for my young family. The times are hard and the struggle is real. I know that my participation will make a real difference to the working classes and this is the reason for the fight. If we are not joined in unity and show solidarity, then we will never win any fights to protect ourselves.

I was hoping with my role within the CWU, I would be able to get around and visit different picket lines to show my support for all around the country. I did get the opportunity to show support at 3 different pickets over the last four day strike. I have been fortunate to have spent the days with a good group of people.

For the pickets, I saw with my own eyes the workers coming together despite age, wage bracket or length of service. We talked about the strikes and the company’s greed. The people have had enough and want what they deserve. It has been amazing to see people stand up when they are losing money as a result of industrial action, on top of not being able to afford to live as it is. The members I have spoken with have expressed the need to turn the screw and really put the pressure on BT.

The actions of the generations coming together speaks volumes, with the important message that change is needed before it spirals out of control. The workers are happy to do what it takes. We need to stick to the grind and win this battle. We have already seen the strikes making huge impact on the company. We need to make the company see what they are doing to workers and their future. By the company driving wages down and ruining T&C’s it will certainly not become the business that once offered a job for life. People are already leaving to go to competitors who offer more pay. If BT wants to retain the status of the super power of the telecoms industry, they need to see sooner rather than later, that these changes risk driving its reputation into the ground. The giants soon to become minnows if they don’t make an agreement with the union on change.