CHANCELLOR Darling said on Sunday that pay rises for people ‘from the boardroom to the shopfloor’ need to be ‘consistent’ with the 2% inflation target.
This is a mealy mouthed way of saying that pay rises must, in reality, be pay cuts of 4.2% (the official Retail Price Index rate of inflation) minus 2% (or less).
Of course, to start with, 2% of a boardroom member’s £1 million salary is a lot more than 2% of the £14,000 a year that millions of workers earn.
Asked if people should accept their living standards were going to fall this year – as they get pay rises below the official level of inflation – Darling said that everyone ‘had a vested interest’ in not allowing inflation to take hold.
This everyone does not obviously include the oil companies who are making trillions of profits, or the bankers and speculators who are buying up forwards in oil, rice, wheat, and other basic commodities, in order to realise tens of millions or even billions in profits, while the victims of their manoeuvres starve.
Darling added: ‘We’ve got to make sure that we keep inflation under control because if we don’t what will happen is that people may get a pay increase but every penny of it will be eaten up by rising prices in the shops.’
However, it is the crisis of the capitalist system, the crisis of the bosses and the bankers, as expressed in the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe and the Iraq war that has led to runaway inflation and to a developing slump at the same time.
To deal with this inflationary crisis means dealing with its source, the crisis of the capitalist system.
Darling’s warning against ‘real pay’ rises; that ‘people may get a pay increase but every penny of it will be eaten up by rising prices in the shops’ is in fact a situation that has already been reached.
In fact, millions of workers are desperate to get a real pay rise, not an illusory one, below the government’s rate of inflation, which understates inflation to the point of being rigged.
The real reason why Darling wants to cut workers’ wages is so he can hand more and more of the state budget over to the banks, to prop up the bankers whose reckless lending and disregard of the law of value, has been a principal source of the crisis.
This is also why the privatisation programme for the NHS and education and council housing is being speeded up, so that additional state revenues can be diverted to the bankers, who meanwhile will be repossessing tens of thousands of workers who cannot afford to repay their mortgages, because of the capitalist crisis, in which the banks have a central role.
The working class is being starved to prop up the banks, so that they can carry on screwing the working class and the middle class.
In this situation the working class has a duty to take strike action to defend its living standards.
To do this the trade unions must draw up their own cost of living index, made up of the necessities that working class families require to live, and then put in for a wage rise that matches the real rise in the cost of living.
This wage rise must be linked to any further rises in the trade union cost of living index so that every month wages automatically rise to keep pace with the real inflation rate.
If the bosses will not or cannot agree to such a system, to defend working class living standards, then they must be expropriated.
Similarly if they refuse to agree to a policy of no redundancies, and that instead, the working week will be reduced without any loss in pay.
Likewise banks must not be allowed to repossess the homes of workers who have fallen into debt as a result of the crisis of the bosses and bankers system.
Since capitalism is the source of the crisis, the bosses must be made to pay for the crisis not the workers.
The banks and the major industries must therefore be nationalised under workers’ control so that the economy can be planned to satisfy people’s needs.
This is the only way forward, otherwise it is back to the worst days of the hungry 1930s – for the good of the country, that is the bosses, of course.