THOUSANDS of trade unionists will be marching in Manchester today to the Labour Party conference to protest at the ‘breadline wages’ that public sector workers are being paid by a Labour government which has been 11 years in office.
Derek Simpson, Unite joint general secretary, said earlier this week: ‘Our members are angry that central government wants poorly paid public sector workers to carry the can for rising inflation.
‘They want their employers to listen to their plea to keep them off the breadline.’
Unite’s co-leader Tony Woodley said: ‘It is simply unacceptable that in the world’s fourth richest economy we should have hundreds of thousands of workers – those who help run our hospitals, care homes and classrooms – scrimping and saving to get by while their employers bank huge savings.’
Unite will call upon the Labour government ‘to intervene in the pay dispute and ensure that all public sector workers receive a decent living wage’.
In fact the public sector ‘employers’ are simply carrying out the Labour Government’s policy which is to slash public sector wages by paying wage increases that are many percentage points below the real rate of inflation.
CWU members are in the same boat. The government has slashed their wages, their pensions and is now seeking to close many huge Mail Centres. to end the jobs of many thousands of postal workers, at the same time as they are bringing in a replacement for Royal Mail chairman, Leighton, to push through the privatisation of the industry.
The government is making war on the trade unions and the workers. The union leaders are paper tigers, making militant-sounding speeches but making sure that they do nothing to defend their members against what is an openly boss-and banker-loving capitalist government.
This situation is now set to worsen after the Bush administration’s decision to spend as much as $1 trillion bailing out bankrupt bankers.
In this Bush is following the lead of Brown who has spent £126 billion bailing out Northern Rock, and the banking system, sacking thousands of its workers and repossessing many more workers’ homes.
Brown is now boasting that he pushed through the Lloyds-TSB takeover of HBOS – this has seen the failed boss of HBOS getting a £2m bonus, and will see 40,000 bank workers losing their jobs with up to a thousand branches of the new bank closing.
This is just the start! Brown pushed through this deal because he is willing to do anything and everything to rescue capitalism, including creating a breadline Britain for the working class, the majority of the middle class and the poor.
The trade union leaders are on Brown’s side since they long ago gave up the struggle for socialism and are opposed to getting rid of capitalism and and moving forward to the higher form of a socialist society.
Most of them are now resigned to a return of the Tories and will argue that this is what a parliamentary system is all about.
Many of them think that a slump is unavoidable, and that trade unionists will just have to get used to this period and grin and bear it, and accept anything and everything that the bosses and bankers dish out.
The WRP and the News Line shares none of these defeatist and utterly demoralised sentiments.
We say to the working class that the Brown government is a capitalist government that intends to make the working class pay the entire cost of the capitalist crisis.
The trade union bureaucracy sees the working class as the slaves of capitalism and is rather pleased with itself that it has achieved the position of head gangmaster.
The working class must use its strength to get rid of leaders that refuse to fight, and must mobilise to defeat the Brown government and bring it down.
It must organise a general strike to bring down Brown, and bring in a workers’ government that will make the bankers and bosses pay for the crisis that their system has caused, by expropriating them and replacing capitalism with socialism. This is the only way forward and is the only way to keep out the Tories.