Class war sharpening – unions need new leaders

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YESTERDAY the Prime Minister, Cameron, was warning the BAA Unite workers that they must not strike.

This was at least six hours before the result of their strike ballot was to be announced by the union.

It seems that the PM did not have any illusions that the workers had not voted for strike action.

His pre-emptive attack was to put the frighteners on the Unite trade union leaders, to let them know what their duty to the state is in this situation of crisis, and what they are expected to do.

This is that they must at least postpone strike actions in favour of interminable talks. His message was that there must not be a strike.

He wants the Unite leaders to continue with their latest tactic in the BA Cabin Crew dispute.

There, the umpteenth vote to reject BA boss Walsh’s various ‘final offers’ has been ignored by the Unite union leaders. They are determined to make a settlement that includes mass sackings, wage cuts, pensions cuts and victimisations, rather than fight to win.

This is what Cameron wants them to do in the case of the 6,000 BAA firefighters, engineers and others.

Their strike action would not just stop an airline, it would halt the six BAA airports, and in a very short time bring the UK to a standstill.

BAA staff must insist that their strike ballot is carried out at once, and that everything that is needed to win their dispute is done.

If Unite’s leaders are not willing to lead the action, they must be removed and be replaced by leaders who will.

The air transport workers are, however, not the only sections of workers that are being forced into the struggle to defend their jobs, wages and pensions by the Tory-LibDem coalition and its policy of forcing the working class to pay for the capitalist crisis.

The Fire Brigades Union is also under frontal attack with Fire Authorities up and down the country telling regional FBUs that their firefighters will be sacked unless they agree to the authorities ripping up their contracts of employment and forcing new terms and conditions of service onto them.

The Fire Brigades Union has condemned a threat from London fire commissioner Ron Dobson to sack the entire London Fire Brigade workforce if they refuse to accept new shift patterns, and not to give them their redundancy payment.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said on Wednesday: ‘Sacking all of London’s firefighters as a way of trying to impose new contracts is the action we would expect from Victorian mill owners – not from a modern public service . . .

‘We will fight the disgraceful attack every step of the way’.

The London FBU have been told that once the 90-day consultation period is up, the contracts will be imposed.

In the same trench as the airline transport workers and the firefighters stand hundreds of thousands of civil servants, health workers, postal workers, Corus workers, and other public and private sector workers.

What is required is that the trade unions act at least as aggressively as the Cameron-Clegg government in fighting the savage cuts policy in the public sector and also fighting their wage-cutting, pension-busting and job-busting policies in the private sector.

Unlike Tony Woodley, Derek Simpson and Brendan Barber the working class cannot wait five years for a general election.

By that time the UK will be a nation of paupers.

What is required is that the Unite trade union takes action to stop the airports and that the rest of the trade union movement comes out in support.

The answer to this crisis is a general strike to bring down the coalition, and bring in a workers government, socialist policies and socialism.