THE UK working class is heading into the greatest ever winter struggle in its history, much greater than any of the ‘winters of discontent’ of the past that brought the British working class and ruling class into revolutionary confrontations.
Chancellor Sunak is to announce an extra £3bn package for the NHS. This is after the NHS has suffered massive multi-billion pound cuts in the past twenty years that undermined its ability to fight the coronavirus, leading to, among other things, the loss of over 100,000 beds, and to this year’s great ‘care homes massacre’ of the elderly.
The £3bn is to try to keep the NHS afloat as the coronavirus revives itself to make its own winter push. Already the NHS has been reduced to the national coronavirus service with millions of other vital treatments cancelled, while GPs have stopped seeing their patients and instead in the most urgent cases carry out consultations by e-mail!
Already the number of people waiting a year for NHS treatment has risen from about 1,500 in February to 140,000 in September.
At the same time as it makes feeble efforts to prevent the NHS from completely sinking, Johnson and Sunak are to announce a three-year wage freeze.
This will be followed up with major attacks on pensions, with no doubt cuts in the Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit, through which millions of people are currently surviving, in order to try and avoid the complete bankruptcy of the capitalist state.
The worldwide capitalist crisis, unleashed by the virus has already seen entire industries smashed, with a massive growth of both adult and youth unemployment all over the capitalist world.
Tory government borrowing in October reached £22.3bn, totalling £214.9bn for the year, that is £169.1bn more than a year ago. The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated borrowing could reach £372.2bn by the end of the financial year in March, when the furloughing extension is due to finish, and mass unemployment numbers rocket upwards
Faced with this prospect, the TUC and the trade union leadership is completely silent. All that the TUC would say about a three-year wage freeze, is that they could not rule anything out.
Along with the other trade union leaders the TUC leadership was and is unable to stand up and fight for the working class.
After all they have already surrendered to the mass sackings and the fire and rehire on new terms and conditions of service for tens of thousands of workers, at Heathrow and many other workplaces.
What worried Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s shadow chancellor, on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show was that any freeze on public sector pay would stunt the capitalist recovery. ‘What this measure would do is say to a firefighter, hospital porter, teaching assistant, that they will have less spending power in the future.
‘That means they won’t be spending in our high streets, they won’t be spending in our small businesses, and that is a very good way of knocking confidence out of our economy at a time when the UK’s economic downturn has been deeper than that of the rest of the G7.’ In fact, a three-year wage freeze will mean working families and their children going hungry!
The working class requires a new leadership that will tell the bosses that if they try to carry out a three-year wage freeze and follow up with tax rises and pension cuts, they will definitely face a general strike that will bring down the government and bring in a workers’ government and socialism.
The working class did not make huge sacrifices to bring in the NHS and the Welfare State to allow the capitalists to smash it all and return to barbarism.
The Workers Revolutionary Party urges every section of the working class and the youth to rise up to form councils of action to take control of entire regions out of the hands of the capitalist class.
We urge all workers and youth to join the WRP and its youth movement the Young Socialists to build up the revolutionary party that will be able to provide the necessary revolutionary leadership for the working class to take the power and establish socialism in the face of capitalist barbarism.
There is no other way forward for the working class and the youth!