WORKERS in Britain are now feeling the ‘benefits’ of the British government’s policy of printing money to rescue the banks while allowing the pound sterling to go to the wall.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation figure, which includes the fall in housing costs is showing zero or even minus inflation. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate, which reflects the huge price rises of all imported foods and other commodities, is rising and reached an annual rate of 3.2 per cent in February, up 0.2 per cent in a month.
Rocketing upwards are fruit, vegetables, meat, petrol and diesel prices.
Going down are mortgage payments pushing the Retail Prices Index (RPI) downwards to zero.
The rise in commodity inflation was a shock for the City of London capitalists who are already seeking to impose a wage freeze throughout industry, as well as seeking redundancies, and threatening closures where they cannot get Labour government aid.
The rise in inflation was also a shock for the trade union bureaucracy. The leaders of the TUC, Unite and the GMB have been telling their members to accept wage cuts and voluntary redundancies, and that if you can hold onto your job, regardless of whether you can afford to buy food or not, you will be well placed to take advantage of the end of the recession, which they hint will be soon.
However, nobody is fooled by this rubbish.
Everybody now agrees that this is the greatest crisis of capitalism ever.
The 1929 crash led to the hungry 30s, and the Second World War, when there was such a massive destruction of commodities that post 1945 the economy could only develop.
The crisis lasted from 1929 to 1945, 16 years. Yesterday the head of the IMF said that the current economic crisis is so grave that it ‘will dramatically affect unemployment and, for many countries, will be at the roots of unrest, threats to democracy and maybe also end in war’.
This is the gravest ever crisis of capitalism. It will not be resolved by workers agreeing to wage cuts and sackings – the bosses will come back for more and more. It will only be resolved by getting rid of capitalism and bringing in socialism.
The trade union leaders, when they advocate accepting wage cuts and redundancies, are acting not for their members but for the bosses. They are just softening up the workers, getting them used to eating less and living in hardship, while the bosses are preparing the really nasty medicine that lies directly ahead.
John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed yesterday just what is immediately ahead for workers and their families.
‘For millions of workers, this will be a spring and summer of pay depression, as pay rises give way to widespread pay freezes or pay cuts.’
Workers in the trade unions must purge the trade unions of leaders who see eye to eye with the bosses and refuse to fight for the interests of their members instead of carrying out policies that defend their jobs, wages and homes from the wolf of capitalism. The trade unions must have a programme for this crisis that defends the interests of the working class.
There must be no wage cuts, and no wage freezes. The trade unions must draw up their own cost of living index and demand wage rises that keep up with the massive increases in the cost of living.
The trade unions must reject all redundancies and demand work sharing with no loss of pay.
Where bosses or the government seek to close industries, they must be occupied by the workers and the trade unions must take national strike action to nationalise them under workers’ control. The trade unions must bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government.