Today, the London FBU are staging the first of two eight hour strikes against the plans to sack the entire workforce of over 5,000 and only re-employ them if they accept new imposed terms and conditions of service.
The stakes involved in this strike are enormous.
The employer, backed to the hilt by the Tory-led coalition government, are seeking nothing less than breaking the powerful Fire Brigades Union and setting the blueprint for taking on every other section of workers fighting the destruction of jobs and living standards
The government is acutely aware that the butchery of jobs and the welfare state announced in last Wednesday’s ‘spending review’ will provoke mass actions by the working class and their unions.
Smashing up the unions is therefore an absolute requirement of the government.
Accordingly, the capitalist state has been mobilised to confront London firefighters who are in the forefront of the emerging class war.
Unprecedented plans for a mass scabbing action to break the strike have been put into action.
The private company AssetCo plc – who last year were awarded a £9 million contract to provide scabs and operate a strikebreaking service –have already been handed 27 fire engines which they plan to operate from a number of fire stations around the capital.
Gone are the days when a strike by the FBU was covered by the army with their dated Green Goddesses who were not allowed to use Fire Brigade equipment or premises.
Today the capitalist state is employing professional strike breakers who will be given all the equipment they need to break the strike and the union.
In the face of this all out declaration of war it has to be said that two, one day strikes will not deter the government or the employer.
Today’s action must be the start of a real fight to defend all the public services.
Firefighters must demand that their union call national action and not let the regions fight individually, one after another.
Scabbing must be fought by the occupation of fire stations to prevent the strike breakers using the appliances.
The FBU must link its fight with the struggle to defend all public services that are being laid waste in an effort to prop up a bankrupt capitalist system.
They must lead the call for a public sector alliance of all unions facing attack and organise all-out national strike action to defeat this government and bring it down.
The coalition have declared war on workers and their unions, the only way to defeat it is to mobilise the entire strength of the working class in an all-out general strike that will remove it and replace it with a workers government prepared to carry out socialist policies.
Attempts to restrict the fight to protest actions must be rejected. There is no possibility of changing this government’s mind, they are desperate to keep a weak, bankrupt capitalist system afloat at the expense of the working class and no amount of begging or appeals to their better nature will deflect them from attempting to destroy the unions and drive the working class back to conditions not seen since the 19th century.
All those trade union leaders, who denounce the cuts as ‘unfair’ but who only offer a campaign of protest aimed at persuading the government to be more reasonable, are actively betraying the working class and acting as class traitors.
They have to be removed and replaced with a new, revolutionary leadership that does not begin with propping up capitalism but with destroying it.
Only the WRP is building this leadership, join us today.