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Unite marks 50 years since General Strike, drawing parallels to cost of living crisis

Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

Unite has today hailed the achievements of union leaders and members during the General Strike fifty years ago today, drawing parallels with the current cost of living crisis being experienced by most people living and working in Gibraltar.

Back in August 1972 and faced with “a paltry pay offer”, union members voted in favour of a General Strike which lasted five days.

The strike achieved a much improved pay deal and reignited trade unionism in Gibraltar.

Unite said the lessons to be learnt from 1972 in 2022 were clear, adding inspiration could be drawn from “the magnificent achievements” 50 years ago.

“The General Strike of 1972 is a proud episode in the history of the union in Gibraltar when the true power of working people exercising their right to withdraw their labour was unleashed in the face of an unacceptable pay offer,” the union said in a statement.

“The organisation and solidarity that was shown across the five days of action demonstrated what is possible when working people unite for a common cause.”

“There is almost symmetry that on the fiftieth anniversary of the General Strike that working people are facing the greatest cost of living crisis in decades, if not a generation.”

“This cost of living crisis, that is being driven by factors outwith the control of working people has meant for many a third year of no cost of living pay increase.”

“Members and indeed non-members of Unite working in Gibraltar should be inspired by the actions of our membership back in 1972 in terms of the current cost of living campaign and what can be achieved through collective action.”

“This week however is the opportunity to salute those union leaders that drove the General Strike and the thousands of members that supported the action.”

“All those that took such decisive action in the summer of 1972 have our eternal respect, for taking such a strong and positive stand, achieving such a positive result and inspiring us all today as we face the modern day challenges ahead.”

Unite is planning a permanent tribute to the “working class heroes” of 1972 and an event to commemorate the achievements of the General Strike later this year.