‘Let me start by thanking you – directors, executives, managers representing companies from all over the UK – for the contribution you are making to Britain.’ Brown never greets the trade unions in this fashion, but nothing was too gushing or too saccharine sickening for the CBI bosses’ organisation conference yesterday.
He told the bosses’ assembly of millionaires with their massive salaries and pension pots: ‘you deserve and have earned the nation’s appreciation for your steadfastness, your resilience, your leadership and courage to change.’
He warned them of the horrors of the capitalist crisis. ‘I believe 2005 will go down in history as a year of challenge when the scale, scope and speed of globalisation pressed in on us as never before – not just terror on a global scale; but the rapid trebling of oil prices, itself a direct result of the new Asia’s escalating demand for oil; the recurrence of global inflation; the re-emergence of protectionism not least because of the loss of jobs across manufacturing in Europe and America, and the shift of service jobs through outsourcing.’
He pledged that he would give the CBI everything. ‘My vision is of a Britain made for globalisation. . . it is my determination that we, government and business together, build a shared national economic purpose.’ The absence of trade unions from this scenario is obvious.
In fact, workers are to be the victims, who provide the spoils for the bosses to wage their globalisation war.
Brown continued: ‘And my first and foremost commitment is to maintain economic stability: stability yesterday, today and tomorrow.’
How is this to be done? ‘And as I made clear last Thursday seeking discipline in public sector pay, I will resist inflationary pressures from wherever they come, safeguarding Britain’s fiscal position today and for the future.’ The answer is a ‘wage freeze’, and for the bosses ‘no inspection without justification’ – complete deregulation.
‘The better, and in my opinion the correct, modern model of regulation – the risk based approach – is based on trust in the responsible company, the engaged employee and the educated consumer, leading government to focus its attention where it should: no inspection without justification, no form filling without justification, and no information requirements without justification, not just a light touch but a limited touch.’
Big business and the gangmasters will be free to do just as they like. Brown again spelt out that he was absolutely at the disposal of the CBI: ‘And let me be absolutely clear with you: at every point I want to work with you and listen to your concerns so that just as we are meeting the stability challenge, we can meet all long term challenges by making the reforms you need and the modernisation you require and the country requires for economic success . . .’
He recited the tax bonanza that he had provided for them, with more to come. ‘On tax, having cut long-term capital gains tax from 40 pence to 10 pence, corporation tax from 33 pence to 30 pence, and small business corporation tax from 23 to 19 pence the Pre Budget Report will continue to ensure rewards for success and examine new incentives for investment. . .’
Then, ‘On pay, where I have sent new guidance to public sector pay review bodies, I can tell you that we must and will do more to encourage pay flexibility.’
And on pensions Brown made clear, answering questions, that once Lord Turner’s pensions paper is published tomorrow, a lot of work will have to be done on the pensions deals that have been agreed with the pubic sector. They are to be redefined or ripped up.
The only way that the trade unions can safeguard the interests of the working class in the face of this boss loving Labour government, is to bring it down, to go forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.