The forgotten strike

by Ray_North on August 11, 2015

Unknown-3Last week tube workers on London went on strike for 24 hours – I wasn’t in London at the time, but judging by the hyperbolic coverage on the news it sounded as though poor Londoners had actually been forced to put shards of glass in their eyes, rather than simply overcome the problem for one day of having to think of another way of getting in to work.

I don’t profess to know a great deal about the grievance of London Underground workers, but it appears that they are unhappy about changes in their working conditions following the introduction of a 24hr service – which may or may not be meritorious of a downing of tools – I know not, others will no more.

Solicitors are also currently embroiled in industrial action – this is nor about a change in their conditions, the action is brought about by changes to legal aid and the introduction of central contracting that will see two thirds of criminal solicitors lose their jobs and those remaining having to endure a 17% pay cut.

If ever there was a just cause for a strike this is it.

To be fair to solicitors however – they have not downed tools, they have implemented, in effect, a work to rule where they are refusing to take on new cases and are dealing with clients in the police stations and courts according to their code of conduct, and nothing more, so they are no longer getting up in the middle of the night to spend hours waiting in police stations to advise their clients.

Alas the coverage of the plight of the criminal lawyers and effect of the strike has received next to no coverage, despite the fact that the impact of the action on the criminal justice system is now really biting – in courts every day, cases are having to be adjourned because defendants are unrepresented. That means that victims are having to wait longer for justice and defendants are having to wait longer to either know their fate or, clear their name.

Of course no one cares, the plight of drug addicts, fighters and sex offenders, or their victims is not nearly as attractive news as the plight of commuters having to wait for an hour for a bus or, heavens above, work from home!

I’m not diminishing the concern of tube workers, but the people should know that there are those who are currently embroiled in action to save one of the most important elements of a decent society, that is the right to legal representation if you are accused of an offence.

We should support the solicitors because none of us know when we might need their services.

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