Inspired by the recent direct action of an electrician mate of mine, fighting to defend their national wages, terms and conditions with lightning demonstrations in London, I decided to take the fight for public pensions into the wider world. Non-league football being one of the last bastions of the working class (a premiership match is like the cinema – sit down, shut up, put that fag out) got me thinking. Me and a workmate went to the Dartford v Bromley FA Cup game, two thousand fans. We mustered at Dartford with rucksacks of Unison pension placards, flyers and blow-up clappers. The clappers would guarantee “buy in” from the kids. We gathered in the Bromley end, blew up the inflatables, which all the kids wanted, and scattered hundreds of pensions flyers in the air, which got everyone reading them. Then the pension placards came out. Union members around us joined in, declaring their Unison branches and volunteering to chip in and get the placards aloft.
The message was out, the whole ground took notice; Dartford fans on either side of the ground clapped and showed their support. It might only have been a small stunt but the dividends that were gained from this one action meant the two of us met union members from local Unison branches and from as far afield as Sunderland. Members who saw themselves from inactive branches now had a focal point: fight for pensions at the football ground, be active, reclaim our own turf!
At the next cup round on 15 November we launched 2,000 pensions’ balloons into the Bromley v Charlton spectators with dozens of kids blowing union horns around the ground. We might have to go through hoops to have a legal strike ballot but they cannot stop us having guerrilla events across wherever workers gather.
Yours Fraternally, Bromley Fan