INTERVIEWED on Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme on Sunday, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady appealed for the Tories to unite with the TUC, saying: ‘Let’s get our act together,’ as thousands of UK firms and businesses will go ‘over the cliff’ in October when the government’s furlough scheme ends.
O’Grady offered up the trade union movement as junior partners in a united front with the Tories to rescue capitalism warning that the mass unemployment resulting from this crisis ‘could be as bad as the 1930s if we don’t get our act together and come together’.
She made it quite clear that the TUC leadership were determined not to fight mass unemployment; the only policy of the TUC is to ask the Tories to take a ‘stake’ in the thousands of companies that will go bust and wait for the economy to ‘bounce back’.
In fact, the unemployment figures for the UK are already greater than the 1930s.
An article in the Telegraph this weekend headed ‘The UK’s jobs nightmare is only just beginning’ examined the reality behind the official government statistics that only count as unemployed those ‘actively seeking and available for work’ and ignore the millions who have been told to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
These figures therefore do not take into account over nine million workers furloughed, a quarter of the country’s workforce. The article looks at the actual number of people claiming unemployment, which shows that ‘unemployment jumped from 1.2 million in March to 2.8 million in May – an astonishing 126% rise since the start of lockdown.’
As the article notes: ‘This is the biggest rise in claimant unemployment ever recorded and goes way beyond the one million rise seen over an entire year following the 1929 Wall Street crash.’
When the furlough scheme ends and the cost of workers’ wages is borne solely by these companies, the jobs carnage will reach unprecedented levels.
Over half the business leaders recently polled said they would cut jobs within three months after it ended, the other half presumably kept quiet. On top of unemployment, non-furloughed workers saw their pay cut by 1.7% in April.
A report yesterday from the Resolution Foundation highlighted the fact that the wealth gap between the rich and the poor had grown enormously since the banking crash in 2008.
It noted that the ‘Wealth gap between the richest and poorest tenth of households has grown by more than £370,000 in real terms between 2006-08 and 2016-18 to reach £1.4 million’ and this gap has become a chasm since the coronavirus crisis.
George Bangham economist at the Foundation said: ‘Pre-coronavirus Britain was marked by soaring wealth and damaging wealth gaps between households. These wealth divides have been exposed by the crisis.’
New research by Feeding Britain and Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab reveals one in four adults in the UK have struggled to access food they can afford during the pandemic.
Households are struggling to pay bills and put food on table, forcing workers to run up massive personal debt or seek the charity of food banks to put food on the table, and all the TUC will do is beg the Tories for help.
But this is not the 1930s, when the working class had suffered defeat in the general strike of 1926 through the betrayals of the TUC which called off the strike at the very moment when thousands of workers were joining.
Betrayed by the TUC, the working class were defeated and leaderless. Today the situation is completely different. This bankrupt capitalist system and its weak Tory government face an undefeated working class that is refusing to accept poverty and starvation as the price of saving the bosses and bankers.
TUC leaders who are betraying the working class must be kicked out and replaced by a new leadership that will mobilise the working class and lead the fight to defend every job through strikes and occupations and go forward to a general strike to bring down the Tories and then further forward to a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers and bring in a planned socialist economy.
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