THE MASSIVE ‘Black Lives Matter’ marches this weekend saw millions of workers internationally and tens of thousands of youth and workers in the UK turn out to march and rally illegally, as far as the state is concerned, to denounce the police murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, and Trump’s threats to set the army onto demonstrators. It was a massive example of working class internationalism.
In the US, workers many of them black, are dying in all kinds of industries where the coronavirus pandemic is running riot. Trump is leading the ‘open up the economy drive’, with 40 million already unemployed. He considers that getting US capitalism functioning is much more important than the numbers of lives that it will cost.
The policy of UK premier Johnson is no different. He knows that as the economic crisis deepens, and furloughing comes to an end there will be suddenly a huge leap in unemployment, with bourgeois economists settling for a total of 11 million.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that there is to be a ‘jobs bloodbath’, and that a panicky Johnson on Friday night signed off new measures to open up the economy rapidly at a meeting with Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor.
Johnson was warned by Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, that failure to reopen the hospitality sector in record time for the summer could cost up to 3.5 million jobs.
Johnson told ministers to lift the coronavirus lockdown as quickly as possible to try to lessen a jobs bloodbath. One civil servant remarked: ‘I wouldn’t quite say there is going to be a tsunami of job losses, but it’s a pretty enormous wave.’ He said nothing of the prospect of an upsurge of coronavirus deaths! Johnson is doing a Trump and insists that he plans to fire up the economy with a ‘Great Recovery Bill’.
In the UK black workers are in the frontline as far as the defence of the NHS and care homes are concerned. Recklessly speeding up lifting the lockdown, regardless, will mean many more workers, including black workers, dying of the coronavirus.
In fact, as the furloughing tapers off, many bosses are ready to sack their workforces and re-employ just a fraction with wage cuts and worse conditions.
Leading the pack of wolves is BA. In a letter issued by BALPA to all members, British Airways has stated that it will fire all of its pilot workforce and offer jobs under new terms and conditions, should no agreement be reached with the union.
BALPA, has informed pilots: ‘BA advise us that as a result of their revised fleet plan the new notice has increased the proposed number of pilot jobs under threat from 955 pilots to 1080. This excludes the 175 jobs under threat as a result of the company’s efficiency targets.’
The adjustment means that from a total of 4,300 pilots across British Airways’ fleets, a total of 1,255 pilots could potentially be dismissed, up from the original figure of 1,130.
BALPA said of BA: ‘However, crucially it states that if BA and BALPA are unable to reach an agreement, the company would seek to force changes by terminating the employment of all pilots and offering individuals new contracts with associated new terms and conditions. We cannot begin to describe the level of disappointment and annoyance this has caused.’
In fact, the Unite trade union has revealed that BA intends to sack 42,000 workers and to re-employ 30,000 only if they are prepared to accept pay cuts of up to 60 per cent and also to accept new terms and conditions of employment. Towns like Slough and Crawley are to be ‘ghost towns’ under this scheme.
In fact, Nissan, British Steel, Rolls Royce and a mass of companies are all preparing the same tactic, to sack masses of workers, and re-employ a tiny fraction at cut rates. Directly ahead is a massive explosion of working class anger as butcher Johnson gets to work.
This weekend’s UK demos were in fact an early warning of the explosion of anger to come in the next few months, as millions of workers are fired, and the trade unions are forced to call a general strike that will see councils of action, that is British soviets established in the main cities and towns.
This is the epic struggle that is fast approaching. Now is the time to build the WRP and the YS and establish sections of the Fourth International in the major capitalist countries.