PRIME Minister Gordon Brown mounted an outspoken attack on members of the RMT railworkers’ union on strike at the London Underground bankrupt maintenance company Metronet and other public sector workers, at his monthly press conference yesterday.
Asked about the strike on London Underground, the Prime Minister said: ‘This is a wholly unjustified strike. It is causing an enormous amount of trouble to people of London and disruption to the business of this city. They should get back to work as quickly as possible.’
Brown broadened his attack on public sector workers as a whole, declaring: ‘As far as public sector and other trades unions are concerned, I made it absolutely clear we have to put the national interest first, and that goes before any sectional interest.
‘In the matter of public sector pay I’m very clear that it’s in the national interests that we maintain the discipline . . .’
The Labour leader maintained his anti-worker, anti-union stance when questioned about the European Union (EU).
He rejected a referendum on the EU Amending Treaty and defended his government’s opt-out from the Charter of Rights (covering employment, health and safety, and social security rights) through a Protocol.
Brown said he had secured the Protocol in negotiations in Brussels. ‘I think what we secured was broadly welcomed in the business community’, he said.
He added: ‘There is a disagreement with some of the trade union colleagues on this, but I’m very clear that it is in the national interests of Britain not to have the Charter of Rights without the Protocol.’
It was clear yesterday that Brown’s main concern was what was good for business in the City of London and ‘the business community’. This is what he means by the ‘national interests’.
Within any capitalist nation, the ‘national interests’ are those of the capitalist ruling class, not those of the working class. In fact, the interests of the capitalist class are opposed to those of the working class.
In seeking to create a government that would serve these ‘national interests’ Brown went out of his way to appeal to Tories and Liberal Democrats, by declaring: ‘We want to reach out and draw on the talents of all the country.’
The Labour leader was speaking the day after he had given government jobs to two Tory MPs and a Liberal Democrat one.
After their appointments, Brown said ‘Instead [of partisan politics], this is the right time to discover what we have in common, to cooperate across party lines, to work together with patriotic purpose to do what is right in the British interest’.
There is a well-known saying that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’!
It is clear that, with the world capitalist economy in turmoil as a result of the debt crisis and its financial collapses, and the political shocks arising from the defeats suffered by imperialist forces in Iraq, Brown is fighting in the service of his masters, the bankers and monopolists operating from the City of London.
Under the banner of ‘the national interest’ and bringing in the ‘talents’ of Tories and Liberal Democrats, Brown is gearing up for his all-out attack on the working class, particularly public sector workers.
In response to this, those trade unionists who have called for a public sector alliance must ensure that this becomes a reality and organise coordinated, all-out strike action to defeat the government’s public sector pay cuts.
They must make the 6.5-million-strong Trades Union Congress (TUC) call a general strike to bring down the Brown government and replace it with a workers’ government.
Unions like the RMT and the Fire Brigades Union have already either been expelled from the Labour Party or disaffiliated.
It is clearly time for the trades unions to break from the Labour Party and, through the TUC, organise and fund political representatives who will fight for the interests of the working class in its revolutionary struggle to get rid of decrepit British capitalism and carry out socialist policies.