THE London Firefighters one day strike last Saturday has drawn a swift response from the capitalist state, via their mouthpieces in the bourgeois press.
Commenting on the strike and the use of the private contractor AssetCo in providing a scab force to operate 27 strike breaking fire appliances, the Tory supporting free sheet, the London Evening Standard, came out last Monday with an entire strategy for breaking the trade union movement and the resistance of the working class.
In a comment piece entitled ‘Boris Johnson should do a Rupert Murdoch and clip Bob Crow’s wings’ the paper, owned by a Russian oligarch, urged the Tory London mayor and tube management to play ‘hardball’ with the Railworkers union (RMT) and its leader Bob Crow.
Taking their cue from AssetCo, the paper calls for the establishment of a professional strike breaking force for the London underground.
Hand-picked recruits would be trained in secret to operate a train service in the event of further stoppages on the underground through industrial action.
The article even suggests that in the interests of secrecy these professional scabs should be trained in disused RAF airfields in the north, away from prying eyes.
Having established this secret force the unions should then be given an ultimatum – either accept new contracts of employment dictated by the employer and the government or be deemed to have terminated your existing contract and be sacked, repeating the same tactic that is being used against the firefighters.
This, the article asserts, ‘worked for Ronald Reagan in 1981’.
This is a reference to the US president sacking over 11,000 air traffic controllers, members of the PATCO trade union, and replacing them with a completely new workforce on lower terms and conditions, while the strike leaders were taken to jail in chains.
Closer to home, the Standard invokes the strategy of Rupert Murdoch who nearly 25 years ago sacked over 6,000 Fleet Street printers, moved production of his newspapers to Wapping and filled all the jobs with scabs – a feat only possible with the strike breaking connivance of the EETPU trade union.
Whilst acknowledging that this plan is ‘horrible and brutal’ and would represent a return to the tactics of 1930s strike breaking associated with Henry Ford in America, the article insists that it is something that must be done in this period of ‘unprecedented crisis’ and ‘economic vulnerability’.
In case anyone forgets strike breaking in 1930s America was characterised by the use of management hired thugs who specialised in breaking strikes by attacking picket lines with pick axe handles, and did not flinch from the use of firearms.
In fact the capitalist state needs no instruction from the London Evening Standard on how to prepare for the coming class battles.
What is lacking is an adequate response from the TUC.
It must stop fiddling while Rome burns. The plans of the bosses and the coalition must be smashed if the trade unions are not to be defeated one by one, and the working class driven back a century.
This means a general strike must be called to support the firefighters, and the coalition must be brought down, to bring in a workers government, socialist policies and socialism.
The TUC will object that such an action will be a breach of bourgeois legality. However, workers cannot be bound by what the bosses consider to be legal, else we will shortly find that going out on strike is decreed to be illegal.
Everything that has to be done to defeat the current bosses and bankers offensive must be done.
All out to support the firefighters – Bring down the coalition – Forward to a workers government and socialism!