THE STRIKE of the Southern guards, which begins on Tuesday, is a pivotal struggle for the entire working class. What is under threat is the fundamental right to strike.
As talks broke down on Thursday lunch-time, train union RMT confirmed that the 14 days of strike action are going ahead. Meanwhile, Southern Rail confirmed it will carry out its threat and sack every single guard! It has the 100% support of the May government.
The class nature of capitalism has been stripped down to its ugly naked essence, ‘Strike and we will sack the lot of you!’ The veil of ‘democracy’, ‘negotiated settlements’ and ‘agreement’ between bosses and workers has been unceremoniously dumped in favour of class war.
This is the same class-war tactic that is being deployed against the junior doctors. Despite the junior doctors engaging in six strikes this year against the new contract, it is being forcibly imposed upon them by Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt. This is the dictatorship of the ruling class!
Only a week ago, plans to sack the entire workforce of the Greater Manchester firefighters, all 1,250 workers, were pushed forward by the fire authority. Under the plan only those who agree to new imposed conditions of service would get their jobs back.
In this particular case the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) forced them to withdraw the mass sackings, for the moment. These basic struggles signify that the so-called Tory ‘workers’ Party is in fact out to smash the trade unions and to drive the working class back 100 years.
It is right at this moment when the class struggle reaches the point of explosion that the cry goes up from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for a ‘responsible capitalism’ that works on behalf of the workers. Corbyn outlined his programme of a fairer society at the Labour Party conference through ‘regulating the banks’. He put forward his version of ‘socialism’, one where the capitalist class are forced to work harmoniously with the working class through regulation.
This nonsense must be dropped – Labour under Corbyn must support the RMT rail workers. However, it is the TUC General Council that must be made to change its tune, or be made to resign. TUC general secretary O’Grady has rushed to support Tory PM May’s party conference speech. O’Grady gushed: ‘We are pleased Theresa May has renewed her commitment to having workers on company boards. This is a good step towards building a fairer economy.’
O’Grady is on record as saying she is prepared to roll up her sleeves and work hand-in-hand with Theresa May. The TUC, led by O’Grady, will be prepared to let the RMT fight on its own, as it did with the junior doctors, to curry favour with the Tory leader.
The TUC passed at its annual conference an emergency resolution in support of the junior doctors’ struggle last month that was full of ‘messages of support’ but proposed absolutely no action at all!
They have let the junior doctors fight on their own. If they are allowed, they will do the same to the RMT and the guards on Southern rail. All trade unionists and all trade unions must demand that the moment a single guard is sacked at Southern rail the TUC must immediately mobilise the entire working class in a general strike to defend them and bring down the Tories.
If the TUC General Council won’t do this, then they must be forced to quit and the TUC Congress recalled to call a general strike. This is the only way forward, through a general strike that will bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government that will carry out socialist policies beginning with the renationalisation of the railways!
In these days of class war, the trade unions must have a new and revolutionary leadership.
This is the big issue that will be discussed at the News Line Anniversary Rally on Saturday November 12! Make sure that you come along and bring your friends.
The working class now requires, as its number one priority, a new leadership that will not grovel to May but will take general strike action to bring down the Tories. Only the WRP fights for this policy. Join it today!