THE leaders of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the University and College Union (UCU) and the TUC joined forces yesterday in a 20,000 strong march in London to urge the government to act over public sector pay.
They made their call on a day when 400,000 teachers, lecturers, civil and public servants took part in a magnificent one-day stoppage against the government’s policy to cap public sector pay to below inflation.
Also yesterday the Grangemouth oil refinery shut down in preparation for the 48 hour strike due to start Sunday, against the Ineos company’s plans to undermine workers’ final salary pensions.
Already Lothian Buses have announced that they will not be running from Sunday and petrol stations up and down the country are running out of petrol and bringing in rationing.
The class struggle is starting to rage in the UK. The class lines of demarcation are clear. The Brown government has already spent over £100bn bailing out banks, and has now extended an unlimited blank cheque to the bankers. At the same time, and as a direct result of this policy, it is slashing wages in the public sector with three years of below inflation wage rises, and looking to make savage cuts everywhere else.
Workers are being starved. In fact, as everybody knows, the official inflation rates of 2.5 %, and 4.1 per cent, including mortgage interest payments, are rigged.
The real inflation rate when bus and rail fares, gas and electricity prices, the council tax, and especially food prices are taken into account is nearer to 20 per cent, with the average family paying £800 a year extra for groceries.
To shore up the banks and big business the government and the bosses are everywhere getting rid of final salary pension schemes, equalising wages downwards, and cutting wages in the face of the huge price rises.
In this crisis situation the call of the union leaders for the government to act over public sector pay is pathetic and bankrupt.
The government is already acting over public sector pay. It is ruthlessly cutting it.
Yesterday’s one-day action must be just the start of the organisation of a general strike in Britain to bring down the bankers’ stooges of the Brown government, to bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bankers and the bosses and bring in socialism.
The trade unions led by the TUC must speedily call a one-day general strike to unite the working class and the middle class against the wage cutters.
The unions must draw up their own cost of living index based on working class necessities and demand that wages are adjusted monthly to keep pace with rises in that index. This is the only way to keep poverty at bay.
Similarly there must be a policy to oppose all sackings. This means that the bosses’ demands for redundancies must be rejected in favour of a cut in the working week with no loss of pay. This is the only way to protect workers families and will only cost a pittance compared to the £150bn Northern Rock bail out cash.
There must be full support for the Grangemouth strikers. All attempts at strike breaking by the employer or the courts or by the government to bring in emergency powers must be met with a general strike to support the Grangemouth workers.
This will hugely advance the cause of the working class and socialism in Britain.
Central to the organisation of a general strike in Britain is the replacement of the old reformist leaders with a Marxist leadership determined to use the huge power of the working class to overthrow the bankers and the bosses and bring in socialism.
Only the WRP is building the necessary revolutionary leadership. All workers and youth who are serious about the struggle must join it today.