This week 45,000 doctors in the UK are being called to strike against a new contract of employment introduced by the government.
Strikes and demonstrations are used in many countries to draw attention to a cause. They can be expressions of frustration or anger, mixed with camaraderie as people come together with a shared point of view. However strikes are becoming less common. Is that because they are ineffective or out-dated? Since the doctors’ strikes have continued for many months without reaching a conclusion, is there a better way to address such issues?
A disadvantage of going on strike is that it looks like self-interest, which can undermine public sympathy. Strikes can also be counter-productive, because some leaders in business and politics believe that yielding to demands may encourage more strikes in the future, so they are inclined to stand firm.
A different approach could avoid the opposing sides becoming entrenched. Ideally the issues at the heart of a dispute should be explored in a practical way, without aggressive arguments or insults.
A televised Forum can enable the public to understand important issues and vote on what seems to be a fair and reasonable conclusion. If there are implications for taxpayers, the discussion can include costs. That is one of many uses for Live Forum TV: it can produce a clear, well-informed and precise measurement of public opinion on any important subject. Neither side is obliged to accept the conclusion, but the process reveals how an issue is viewed by the public, and offers a solution that may be acceptable.
Surely that is better than strikers condensing their opinions into slogans and a few words on placards? In the future people may be astonished to learn that, as late as 2016, disputes were addressed by people shouting in the streets and leaders ‘standing firm’ against pressure.