THE TUC General Council has met and issued a statement on the crisis. In it, it disgracefully treats the Tory government as a potential partner, not as the leader of the big business class of super-exploiters.
It stated: ‘The government must act now to reduce the spread of Covid. Failure to do so will risk public health, frontline services, and the economy. We cannot afford a laissez-faire approach to managing the pandemic – we need clear and consistent leadership.’
The TUC has a minimum programme that is little different from Johnson’s. ‘First, make the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport mandatory. This can’t just be left to individuals’ discretion.
‘Second, remind employers of their legal obligation to manage the risks of Covid-19. That means carrying out and publishing thorough risk assessments and consulting with unions on necessary preventative action.
‘Third, employers who fail to adequately control risks must be met with tough and decisive enforcement action. And regulators, including the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities, must be given the additional resources and funding they need to keep people safe at work.
‘Fourth, we urgently need an uplift in the rate of Statutory Sick Pay to the rate of the real living wage, and for it to be available to all workers.’
The fourth is the only real demand on the Tories and they will reject it without any hesitation.
The essence of the situation is that the TUC’s ‘partner’, the Tory regime, is only interested in the welfare of capitalism. It has been extraordinarily reckless with the lives of the elderly, health care workers, the working class as a whole, and the youth, with its crisis claiming 162,620 corpses so far.
The truth is that some Tories would see a death toll double this as a ‘price worth paying’ if it helped to put the ruling class back on its feet again, and off its knees.
Meanwhile, the new Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, in a bout of frustration, has condemned the Tories for being Tories and vetoing the attempt to bring in a bill illegalising the ‘fire and rehire’ tactic that has become the main weapon of the bosses.
She has declared: ‘The antics of the Conservative Party today have been a disgrace’ – even she must have known that this was going to happen.
She complained: ‘They say one thing but do another.’
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing states: ‘Safe recovery is impossible without further investment to tackle the nursing workforce crisis.’
It stated the obvious: ‘Failure to invest more now will mean disaster for the health and care services this winter.’
However, the working class is not just standing by observing the debacle. It is growing angrier and angrier at the way that the Tories are being allowed to slash wages, jobs and benefits, like Universal Credit, and are now about to rob the pensioners of their triple lock.
Workers are now very angry. The GMB leaders have had to declare that: ‘If the government fails to value care workers we will start organising for industrial action across the care sector.’ GMB general secretary Gary Smith backed care workers to organise for strikes in their fight for a £15 an hour social care minimum wage.
Smith stated the obvious: ‘Pay is the priority in tackling the growing understaffing crisis and lifting the unsustainable pressures not just in social care, but in our NHS too – that’s why we are ‘‘fighting for fifteen’’.
‘We know the prospect of wages just above £10 an hour won’t cut it, and if you want to retain and recruit the people we need, then we must value this essential work properly.
‘After the awful events of this pandemic and with a bleak winter ahead, the consequences of continuing to neglect these key workers should be crystal clear to everyone.
‘But if government fails to recognise this then we will summon the spirit of the Glasgow Women’s Strike and start organising for industrial action across the care sector.’
On Friday October 22nd the Unite union reported that: ‘More than 800 drivers, engineers, cleaners, supervisors and managers at Stagecoach North East have voted overwhelmingly to hold 12 days of strike action over the management’s ‘‘divide-and-rule’’ tactics on pay.’
There was a 92 per cent vote in favour of strike action and 94 per cent for an overtime ban.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Nine out of ten members on an extensive ballot voted for strike action on Stagecoach’s miserable offer. The Stagecoach board should understand that Unite is ready for a relentless campaign.’
The working class in now very angry and it is on the move.
Now is the time to fight and force the TUC to organise a general strike to win £15 an hour for all, to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and socialism.
The News Line urges workers and youth to join the WRP and the YS to build the revolutionary leadership to win the battle for socialism and get rid of capitalism on a world scale.