This article originally appeared in the MORNING STAR newspaper – http://morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/123380
By John Millington
RMT leader Bob Crow called for a Spanish-style general strike against cuts at the Burston strike school rally yesterday.
At the annual celebration of the longest-running strike in British history Mr Crow said: “It’s 98 years since Burston yet the same attacks are taking place now.
“We should be doing what the Spanish workers have done and the Greek workers have done and have a general strike.”
The event in the Norfolk village of Burston commemorates the strike school set up after Kitty and Tom Higdon were sacked from the village school for their socialist and trade union views in 1914.
Their pupils walked out in support and with the backing of parents and trade unionists the Higdons opened the strike school to educate local children which ran until 1939.
The Unite union’s national officer Cath Speight said that today’s festival, organised by Unite with the support of South East Region TUC (Sertuc), the Burston strike school trustees and Thompsons solicitors, was a chance for activists to “re-energise” and take inspiration for future struggles.
She said: “It helps us to remember where struggle came from and how agricultural workers and children have been at the forefront of rural life.”
The rally is a chance “to remember our forefathers and the struggles they had to endure,” she said.
“When you look at what is happening now, we’re going back to austerity.”
Ms Speight added that there was a fightback against pay cuts, particularly in the agricultural sector.
“Workers are being attacked on all fronts,” she said. The Tories are seeking to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board – a move she said “will take £9 million out of the rural economy.”
Sertuc secretary Megan Dobney said unions “individually will be totally unsuccessful. Solidarity in the widest sense can bring success.”
Mr Crow urged support for the Prison Officers Association motion at next week’s TUC which will look into the practicality of a general strike.
Labour law experts Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC have put forward a paper saying such an action would be legal.