50 Years Ago: Busman’s Half-Holiday
With tales of workers walking home from work in the pouring rain and children disappointed at being unable to visit the pantomime, the press and radio stimulates animosity between workers in different industries. Remember Mr. Attlee during the 1948 Dock Strike? “You strike against your mates, strike against the housewives,” a “strike against the ordinary common people.” (News Chronicle, 29/6/48.) Now it is the busmen against the dockers and others. “Public opinion” it is called. It is really a lack of understanding that all workers have a common interest as workers, not as busmen, bakers, dockers, dentists, hauliers or housewives.
There is one type of strike that the busmen have not tried yet. One that would not alienate “public opinion.” One that would not interfere with the normal running of the services. One that would show who had the welfare and interests of the “public” at hearts. One that would make the newspapers turn about face. The Busmen have not yet tried to gain their demands by running the buses, giving a good service, but not collecting the fares. That would solve most of their strike problems—and other people’s too. It would show who really had the sympathy for the poor tired worker trudging home in the wind and the rain.
(From an article by W. Waters, Socialist Standard, February 1949)