Answer The ‘Shock And Awe’ Budget With A General Strike

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THE Tory-Lib Dem shock and awe budget is due next Tuesday.

Already workers, pensioners and youth are calling for action against this savage attack that will create hundreds of thousands more unemployed in the public and private sectors, bar millions of youth from ever getting a job, increase VAT to 20 per cent to push up the price of necessities beyond the purchasing power of ordinary families, and usher in what Cameron and Osborne call an ‘age of austerity’ for the working class.

On Monday, pensioners will be demonstrating outside the House of Commons demanding that the residents of sheltered housing schemes retain their residential warden service.

They say: ‘We do not accept that we should pay, with cuts to a service we rely on, for the financial crisis, a crisis we did not create! We value our wardens and we will not give them up without a fight, while the banks that we have bailed out are still paying dividends to shareholders and huge bonuses to their top staff.’

This action is being supported by the GMB and Unison trade unions.

On the same pre-budget day, staff and students at over 70 colleges and universities will take part in a national day of action against funding cuts in further, higher and adult education. The demonstrations – which have been organised jointly by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the GMB, the National Union of Students (NUS), Unison, the University and College Union (UCU), and Unite – will call on the chancellor George Osborne to protect education in next Tuesday’s budget.

The unions state that, ‘University funding is being slashed by £1.2 billion over the next three years with four in five institutions facing cuts. In further education up to 7,000 jobs are at risk as a result of public funding cuts of £200 million for adult learning, and the unions will warn that funding cuts in both sectors cannot be made without having a serious impact on the quality of students’ education.

‘Over 200,000 people look set to miss out on a university place next year and up to 70% of further education colleges say they are being forced to axe courses.’

Last Tuesday, opening the Unison conference, general secretary Dave Prentis pledged: ‘We will give our full support to any branch that is forced to resort to industrial action to defend jobs. We will build an alliance of all public service unions – a united campaign, to break the pay freeze, and if we find ourselves faced with a concerted attack on our pensions, and if Nick Clegg, who claimed expenses for a biscuit tin, comes for our pensions, as he boasted only yesterday, then we will ballot for national industrial action.’

Yesterday, the Tube workers’ union, the RMT, warned that internal Tory Party plans to sack all 3,500 London tube drivers, and to move the entire network to driverless operation, would be met by ‘all-out industrial action’ as the union issued a demand that London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson, Chair of TfL, issue a direct statement confirming that the lethal and ill-conceived proposals have been killed off.

This policy is nothing more than the continuation of the union busting that saw the light of day in the Gate Gourmet struggle in August 2005, was continued by BA with the current wage-cutting, job-cutting, pension-cutting and union-busting programme of BA boss Willie Walsh, and is now to be carried forward in an attempt to smash a trade union stronghold in the London Tube.

It is the capitalist crisis on a world scale that is driving these attacks forward. Osborne will proceed next Tuesday regardless of all the pleas not to do it, to launch the campaign to make the workers pay for the bankers crisis with savage, brutal measures.

This is not a protest issue. The bosses will do it unless they are stopped.

The only way to stop them is with an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tory-led coalition and to impose a workers’ government that will put an end to capitalism and bring in socialism.

There is no alternative to this policy. This is what must be done!