Starmer declares Labour now under ‘new management’ of the bosses – unions must break with the Labour Party and build the WRP

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LABOUR leader Keir Starmer yesterday threw down the gauntlet to the trade union movement when his office announced that ‘Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is under new management’ and will act only in the national interest not in the interests of the trade unions and the millions of workers who built the party in 1900.

This contemptuous dismissal of the unions and this statement that Labour acts solely in the interests of the bosses and bankers followed a warning from the general secretary of the Unite union, Sharon Graham, that Unite was prepared to end all funding of the Labour Party.

Graham said at an on-line rally in support of striking binmen that ‘the remaining financial support’ from the trade union to the Labour Party is ‘now under review’.

Graham made it clear that both regional and national funding to Labour including affiliation fees is under threat, with her declaring that: ‘Our wallet is closed to bad employers.’ The bad employer in this case is Labour-run Coventry council.

The workers, who all hold HGV licences, started a two-month strike over low rates of pay this week.

They are paid by the council way below the going rate for HGV drivers in the region with a basic pay of just £11.49 increasing to £14.37 (after years of service) with strikers stating that the low rate of pay coupled with the massive increase in the cost of living, means cutting back on food or heating for their families.

None of this cuts any ice with the Labour councillors in charge who offered a 0% pay increase and an insulting one-off Christmas bonus for workers who laboured through the pandemic to keep Coventry bin collections going.

Faced with the strike council leaders opted to go all-out to break the drivers and Unite. The council has embarked on strike-breaking, employing outside contractors with reports that they are being offered between £18-£20 an hour to scab on the strike.

Unite with its 1.4 million members is the largest donor to the Labour Party. The millions of pounds of members money that it hands out to the Labour Party every year has kept Labour from crashing into financial bankruptcy, a financial collapse accelerated by previous cuts in funding from Unite and the Communication Workers Union along with the haemorrhaging of hundreds of thousands of party members and their subscriptions.

But far from expressing any worry about seeing Unite’s millions taken away, the Labour leadership responded to Graham’s warning with contempt.

The official reaction from Starmer’s office was to state that: ‘We’re not going to get into the specifics of this dispute. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will always act in the public interest. These sort of threats won’t work in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. We would have hoped that Unite would have got the message that the Labour Party is under new management.’

Starmer is announcing that Labour doesn’t need the unions any longer and that under his ‘new management’ Labour will get all the support it needs to act in the national interest from disaffected Tory donors.

That is, donors like multi-billionaire hedge fund chief John Armitage, who this week cut funding to the Tories over the crisis within Johnson’s government.

The Labour Party is firmly on-board with wage-cutting and dumping the capitalist crisis on the backs of workers. This is crucial to proving Starmer’s party is a willing collaborator with sections of the Tory Party in a national government of salvation for bankrupt British capitalism.

The Labour Party has abandoned the entire working class and positioned itself as a fully bourgeois party, upholding the interests of the bosses and bankers against the interests of workers.

The unions must act by completely breaking with the Labour Party, cut off all funding and go forward to rapidly building the Workers Revolutionary Party.

Only the WRP is preparing to organise the strength of the unions in a general strike to kick out the Tories and the working class seizing power to go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.