In news which isn’t news to anyone who isn’t located in 10 Downing Street, industrial action and strikes are meant to be disruptive – by way of withdrawing your labour in protest at pay, working conditions, and so on.
Even the Trade Union Congress – who probably know a thing or two about strikes, given the name – says industrial action is an act “which prevents the operation of the contract of employment”, with a strike being an example of such an act.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday - ahead of teachers, university staff, civil servants, train drivers and London bus drivers all walking out a day later – the official spokesman for prime minister Rishi Sunak decided to state the obvious: the strikes will cause “significant disruption”.
We’re also expecting him to confirm there are 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week at some point.
The spokesman is reported to have said: “We know that there will be significant disruption, given the scale of the strike action that is taking place [on Wednesday], and that will be very difficult for the public trying to go about their daily lives.
“We are upfront that this will disrupt people’s lives and that’s why we think negotiations rather than picket lines are the right approach.”
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Of course, Twitter users weren’t too appreciative of their government warning them of something which they knew already:
\u201c@BBCNews Wow absolute geniuses in Downing St. Coming up next week: NO. 10 proposes a novel circular device for facilitating propulsion in land vehicles.\u201d— BBC News (UK) (@BBC News (UK)) 1675179065
\u201c@BBCNews Everyone, if you could please restrict your striking to a Sunday night, or any quiet period that won\u2019t affect business too much, that would be very much appreciated.\u201d— BBC News (UK) (@BBC News (UK)) 1675179065
\u201c@BBCNews The thing about \u201cmass\u201d is that the workers are in fact the public and this is the point\u201d— BBC News (UK) (@BBC News (UK)) 1675179065
\u201cIf only there was a good reason that would justify millions of people staying off work for a day - eg, a wealthy pensioner is having a golden hat put on him in Westminster Abbey or something\u201d— Neil Gibbons (@Neil Gibbons) 1675252148
\u201cThings that have disrupted my life far more than strikes:\n- Poorly managed privatised rail\n- Nurse understaffing\n- Shortage of care workers\n- Lack of accessible primary health care\n- Overstretched underbudgeted local councils\n- Mental health care provision\u201d— DaVe (@DaVe) 1675246721
\u201cThat\u2019s the point\u201d— \ud83d\uddfdSydette Cosmic Dreaded Gorgon \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\uddfe (@\ud83d\uddfdSydette Cosmic Dreaded Gorgon \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\uddfe) 1675217100
With further strike action taking place on Friday, we hope Downing Street’s statement about those strikes is a lot more informative.
Although, given the government has also introduced anti-strike legislation in a bid to restrict the right to freedom of peaceful assembly – you know, that little thing in the European Convention on Human Rights – we won’t hold our breath.
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