Rebekah Diski

19 April 2024

Interests at Work

There is always a tension between a union’s bread-and-butter role to protect its members’ jobs and the wider role that some unions, at some times, have used to improve the world their workers live in. The emphasis on ‘interests at work’ is a rebuke to that wider social role, but it seems increasingly obsolete in the face of the existential threats of nuclear war and ecological breakdown. What about workers’ interests in breathing clean air? Or in affordable rents? Or in protection from floods, droughts and social breakdown? Or in the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the products of their labour have not been used in genocide?

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24 January 2024

Unjust Transitions

The steelworks at Port Talbot was once the largest in Europe, employing 18,000 people at its peak in the 1960s. While British steel production has fallen as part of the wider trend of deindustrialisation, the Welsh plant still employs 4000 of the town’s 32,000 residents and supports many more in the supply chain and the wider local economy. Last week, the Indian conglomerate Tata, which took over the works in 2007, announced plans to shut down Port Talbot’s two coal-fired blast furnaces and replace them with an electric arc furnace, cutting 2500 jobs within eighteen months.

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9 August 2023

False Dichotomies

To distract us from the government’s deliberate despoliation of our social infrastructure, we are told – in increasingly dehumanising language – that migrants ‘drain’ public services or that they threaten the vulnerable (for whom they happen to be caring). The strategy relies on the constant reinforcement of difference between ‘migrants’ and ‘ordinary working people’, as if there were no overlap between these groups. 

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