HOURS after winning the December 12 election, Tory leader Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in central London announced that ‘We now speak as a One Nation Conservative party’, adding: ‘Parliament must change so that we in parliament are working for you, the British people.’
This, as everyone knows, is a total sham. By lumping everyone together as the ‘British People’ under ‘one nation’, Johnson is attempting to obscure the true class nature of society.
There is not one nation; there are two: one tiny minority which has all of the wealth and lives a life of luxury, and everyone else. There are people and people. People who own everything and people who own nothing, the vast majority of the working class and the tiny minority of rulers. And it is the working class which is the more powerful class.
Today you have millions working two or three jobs, six or seven days a week, forced to visit foodbanks to feed their children, facing eviction because of spiralling rents, up to their eyeballs in debt, using credit cards to pay their bills, mass homelessness and unemployment. Meanwhile, the bosses and bankers, millionaires and billionaires are making vast profits at the expense of the workforce.
This Tory government, under Johnson, says it is a ‘people’s government’ but it defends rich and wealthy people while launching the most vicious attack on the working class to date.
Johnson and his ‘One Nation’ Tories have launched a war on the fundamental right to strike! In the Queen’s Speech, the declaration of war is just 23 words long, but its implications are revolutionary. The Queen said: ‘To ensure people can depend on the transport network, measures will be developed to provide for minimum levels of service during transport strikes.’ In other words, the transport unions will be forced by law to provide measures to break their own strikes!
Meanwhile, outside parliament over one hundred RMT members, along with members of the PCS, UCU and Unite rallied in defence of the right to strike.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash told the rally: ‘Using only the 23 words in the Queen’s Speech, they want to destroy the right to strike, a key human right. It is an attack on ordinary working people. They are attacking us all.’
At the end of November, three High Court judges dismissed an appeal by the postal workers union (CWU) against an earlier injunction banning the right of their members to take strike action, despite a 97% vote in favour.
On Thursday, the Divisional Court ruled that the Prison Officers Association (POA) were in Contempt of Court and that the POA were in breach of the Permanent Injunction and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. The POA has now been fined in total £210,000.
This relates to a nationwide protest of prison officers in September 2018 and a protest in February 2019 over the sacking of a member and a lock-out of 115.
The POA General Secretary Steve Gillan told News Line: ‘We are appealing this fine. The Permanent Injunction against us is a breach of our human rights.
‘It is a basic fundamental right to withdraw your labour. We have been warning that what happened to us is coming to other unions.
‘What they will do is to deem all other unions as dealing with essential services and make it more difficult to strike. The first shot across the bows was in the Queen’s Speech where they said that transport strikes need minimum cover arrangements.
‘The Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994 Section 127 must be repealed. It is an antiquated law that breaches our fundamental right to strike. They also have a permanent injunction out against us in taking any action against Section 127.
‘What that in effect now means is that because they have a permanent injunction in place. The Secretary of State does not need to keep applying to the court. All they have to do is slap a contempt of court on us and that is what they have done in this case.’
Workers will rise up to defend the right to strike with the same will-power, determination and resolve which they were forced to show to push Brexit through and smash the prospect of a second referendum. The truth is that the only way to defend the right to strike is to carry out the British socialist revolution. The message is: Forward!