News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Strikes rmt pic.JPG
UK News

Strike action legitimate for Christians says think-tank leader

by Premier Journalist

After a wave of national strikes this week saw up to half a million junior doctors, teachers, civil servants, lecturers, London Underground drivers, railway workers, BBC journalists and Amazon workers walk out, a Christian think-tank leader has urged Christians to get behind them.

“I think there is a revival amongst trade unions at the moment”, commented Simon Barrow of Ekklesia. “Many workers, including the lowest paid workers in the country in the public sector, have seen their income fall by 25% over the last five years”, he added. “And really, you know, that's why they're taking action. It's not because they want to go on strike.”

Speaking to Premier Christian Radio, he urged churchgoers to join a trade union:

“I think it would be a wonderful thing to do, because it is actually about loving your neighbour. It's about acting in love and solidarity with other people and also often trying to defend the weakest.”

“The history of trade unions is also in part a Christian history”, he continued. “Methodism was extremely important in it. My own union, the National Union of Journalists, rather quaintly calls our branches ‘chapels’, because of where they met in some of the early days. So I'd love to see much more Christian engagement with trade unions.”

Across Britain, hundreds of picket lines formed this week outside government offices, schools, hospitals, universities and Tube stations in one of the biggest walkout for years.

But there is a glimmer of a negotiated settlement in the health service, with news that further strikes by ambulance staff and other NHS workers are suspended. Health unions have announced they will recommend acceptance of a new pay offer to NHS staff.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is urging teachers to do the same, "They should just pause their strikes while they get in the room. Its exactly what we offered the NHS, the nurses have been negotiating for over two weeks in serious discussions with the government. If its good enough for the nurses it should be good enough for the teachers." 

But Simon Barrow struck a note of caution to Premier:

“The reality is that we are experiencing the longest pay squeeze for ordinary people for more than 200 years. On current terms, real wages won't return to 2008 levels until 2026.”

Barrow concluded:

“The chancellor spoke about a high wage and a high skills economy, but he didn't really do anything to deliver it. And that's the problem. There's no plan to get wages rising across the economy. We need a fully funded workforce plan across the public services to recruit and retain key workers.”


A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email