SUNDAY saw the Tory Telegraph accuse PM May of ‘refusing to curb the power of striking trade unions despite a growing backlash from her own MPs as Britain braces itself for more transport chaos over Christmas.’
The bosses are panicking and publicly baying for emergency legislation to ban strikes in ‘critical industries’.
May who took a corporatist line after her appointment as Tory PM by the 1922 Committee, has been told to pack it in, and that the objective of the Tory government cannot be limited to having good relations with the TUC, and voicing an alleged concern for ‘Jams’ (people who are just about managing).
The Sunday Telegraph warned that: ‘The problems will intensify this week as pilots, cabin crew and baggage handlers join rail workers and postal staff in a “nightmare” combination of Christmas strikes. There are now fears industrial action will spread as militant unions seek to use the festive period to benefit their members.’
The Telegraph even reported, in a round-about-way, that it had been informed, that RMT President, Sean Hoyle, had made a speech at a TUC fringe meeting in September urging the unions to coordinate strike action to ‘bring down this bloody working class-hating Tory government’.
RMT leader Mick Cash yesterday rushed to assure the world that the RMT did not want to bring down the government, and insisted that the current rail disputes had been forced on it, and that the only legitimate way to get rid of the Tory government was via the ballot box.
The fact that this is the position of all the trade union leaders is proven by the fact that while the junior doctors were fighting our battle to defend the NHS, the trade union leaders did not call a single action to support them, so enamoured were they of May’s corporatist turn.
Yesterday, the Telegraph brought back Heseltine and Tebbit who played leading roles in the 1984-85 war against the NUM miners union, to give public warnings. Heseltine said: ‘You cannot have small groups of people holding society to ransom’. Tebbit added: ‘You should take a hard but understanding line.’
In fact the Thatcher government provoked the miners strike with its plan to shut down the mining industry. The closure of Cortonwood Colliery started the strike and the matter was concluded in 1993 when Heseltine shut down the whole mining industry.
This offensive assault was all carried out under the banner that the NUM was the aggressor, with the imposed miners’ strike referred to as ‘Mr Scargill’s Insurrection’ in Thatcher’s memoirs – ‘The Downing Street Years’.
They are now seeking to repeat this scenario. What has so rattled the UK ruling class is that after the Brexit revolt, the working class in its trade unions has begun to take strike actions which have a very great revolutionary potential.
They are fearful that fighting trade unions will attract to their banner the millions of the very poor and oppressed people in the UK who have had their standard of living slashed in the years since the 2008 crash.
Even the TUC has had to warn that 3.2 million workers in the UK are now in precarious jobs – including the so-called ‘gig’ economy where they have no sick pay, no redundancy protection, and no protection from unfair sacking. The TUC adds that the army of zero-hours workers now earn a third less than average employees.
This huge amount of inflammable human material will flock into the trade unions once they see them fighting. It is this revolutionary potential that the ruling class fears. This is why they are calling May to order!
In fact, the bourgeoisie knows that the growing automation of industry, complete with robot production, and even robot drivers threatens the jobs of millions, who will be reduced to being servants of the super-rich, at their beck and call, Uber-style, when and if they are needed. Under capitalism this will turn the mass of the people into the new ‘People of the Abyss’ that Jack London met in the east of London in the early 1900s.
What we are seeing now is the beginning of a revolutionary movement of tens of millions of people who reject the decree of the ruling class that society can no longer afford social welfare or the NHS, or even guards on trains, and respond that modern society cannot afford to have a backward ruling class, already centuries out of date, dominating society, and abusing it in the way that Marx foresaw when he predicted that the further development of capitalism would see the rich getting incomparably richer and the poor even poorer, and starving into the bargain.
What is needed now is a new and revolutionary leadership for the working class to organise mass strikes and revolution. This is what will be discussed and acted on at the 11th February ATUA Conference.
Meanwhile, the trade unions and their members must tell the TUC that it must stand up for the striking transport and zero-hours contract workers or resign at once. It must tell the Tories that any new anti-strike laws will be met with an immediate general strike to bring them down and bring in a workers’ government and socialism!