THIS WEEK Unison, the largest public sector union in the country, issued a statement declaring that it ‘stands ready’ to work with the Tory government.
The leadership of Unison declared its desire to participate, along with the TUC, with the Tories, employers and Health and Social Care officials in a Social Care Fair Work Forum.
Unison’s statement couldn’t contain itself in expressing the joy of the union leaders at being ‘invited’ to sit at the same table as Tory ministers and employers.
A seat at the table represents the promised land for these leaders, whose only desire is to ‘prove’ to the Tories and bosses that they are important and have a vital role to play in managing the crisis that the Tories have created with their deliberate destruction of social care provision.
Over a decade of Tory austerity has brought social care and the entire NHS to its knees.
The Tory government that the Unison leaders are so happy to share a forum with, is instituting a further massive wage cut by inflicting a pay freeze on public sector workers – the very workers represented by Unison – while offering only an insulting 1% to nurses.
None of this is an obstacle to the Unison bureaucrats, who boasted that ‘Unison stands ready to work with the Minister and those employers who are committed to positive change for the workforce through this Forum.’
The only change the employers and Tories want to bring in, is to positively smash the wages and conditions of Unison members to drive up profits for the privateers who dominate the social care sector.
Such is the duplicity of these leaders, that while they were celebrating this collaboration, the newly elected general secretary of Unison, Christina McAnea, was exhorting members to vote against the Tories and for ‘fair pay’ in today’s local elections and send a ‘message’ that the government ‘have their priorities wrong’.
In her blog to members posted on 26 April McAnea wrote: ‘Actions speak louder than words – and the actions of this government show us who and what they really care about’, before denouncing the Tories saying ‘they continue to impose a cruel pay policy upon those who work in the NHS, social care, schools and local government.’
Actions do indeed speak louder than words and the actions of the leadership of Unison add up to a most treacherous betrayal of its members, as it acts as a prop to this vicious, reactionary Tory government and employers, whose only priority is to smash the wages and conditions of workers.
However the Unison leaders are not alone.
It is a dominant feature of the crisis engulfing British capitalism that we are seeing the increasing growing together of the trade unions’ leadership with the employers and government.
This week it emerged that the TUC is sitting happily on another joint ‘task force’ with the employers to consider ‘flexible working’ for every worker.
As for the millions of workers who cannot work from home, the only flexibility that the bosses want is to be able to fire and rehire, to drive workers onto short term contracts and lay them off without pay when the work dries up.
This is the flexibility that capitalism demands today – the smashing of every single one of the rights won by the working class in the past through bitter strikes and mass action.
By their actions, these union leaders have shown that they are only interested in collaborating with the bosses and Tories and demonstrating that they will work flat out to hold back the anger and hatred of the working class in the interests of keeping bankrupt capitalism from being overthrown by socialist revolution.
These leaders must be thrown out and replaced with a leadership that will not collaborate with the Tories to save capitalism but will mobilise the huge strength of the working class in a general strike to kick them out and go forward to a workers government and socialism.
Only the WRP is building the leadership required to take the working class forward to power – join today, there is not a moment to lose.