AS CHRISTMAS approaches, the strike wave sweeping Britain is far from abating, in fact it is growing in strength and determination by the day as workers demonstrate their strength in the struggle against a capitalist system determined to make workers and their families pay to keep the bosses in profit and the entire system from economic collapse.
A brief survey of the strikes currently taking place across the country clearly proves the determination of workers to fight against seeing their lives destroyed.
400 workers at Cambus, part of the Stagecoach bus ‘empire’, who have not had a pay rise since April 2019, voted to hold ten days strike starting January 4.
Unite members rejected a derisory 1.5% pay offer from April 2021 with a further 1.5% for 2022 – at a time when the RPI rate of inflation has soared to 7.1% – and voted for a strike that will hit transport in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
At Luton airport – Unite members employed by contractor Wilson James will begin new round of strikes on 31 December. The contractor and Luton airport authorities have refused to make a pay offer to increase the ‘poverty level’ minimum wage paid.
Yesterday, families and friends joined striking scaffolders at Actavo’s headquarters in Wakefield to mark the 12 weeks of a bitter indefinite strike over the demand for wage increases.
The strike at the British Steel plant in Scunthorpe is over the refusal of the contractor Actavo to pay the nationally agreed pay rate, instead paying 15% below the wages in the national Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry.
Strike action at the giant supermarket chain, Asda, moved closer as thousands of GMB members voted to walk out with 94% of GMB members (warehouse and clerical workers along with HGV drivers) voting for strike action after Asda refused to offer distribution staff a ‘meaningful pay offer’ way below the soaring inflation rate.
Workers are inflamed that their pay is being cut while Asda directors took home £12.6 million in pay and shares while the company turned an operating profit of £486 million last year. Refuse workers across the country have been taking strike action.
In Leicestershire, GMB workers voted for strikes on 29 and 31 December because the outsourcing giant Serco had failed to make a ‘fair’ pay offer with the union insisting it was demanding a pay rise that allows its members to keep up with the impact of inflation.
Refuse workers in Eastbourne are similarly set to strike on New Year’s Eve and into January over pay and intolerable working conditions.
The rail and transport industries are aflame with strikes breaking out in every sector over pay and conditions.
Yesterday, the RMT union announced that strike action will go ahead on Cross Country trains from Christmas Eve over attempts to undermine the role of Senior Conductors by drafting in other staff to do their jobs.
Tube strikes went ahead last weekend on the Night Tube, over attempts by London Underground bosses to rip up existing staffing agreements in a cost-cutting effort to push through extra night and weekend working for drivers.
This snapshot of the strikes that are sweeping Britain demonstrates conclusively that the working class is feeling its enormous strength and is prepared to use it to defend its wages from the inflationary crisis engulfing capitalism.
This will immeasurably sharpen the conflict between the two classes, as bankrupt capitalism tries to force cuts to wages, benefits and all the rights won in the past on a working class that is refusing to lie down and accept poverty in order to bail out the profits of the bosses and bankers.
The immediate task is to build a new leadership in the unions politically prepared to organise this strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government.
A workers’ government that will nationalise the main industries and banks placing them under the management of the working class under a planned socialist economy.
Only the WRP is building the revolutionary leadership necessary to put bankrupt British capitalism out of its misery and offer a future to every worker and young person.