THE LATEST Tory onslaught on the unemployed was revealed by Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday when he praised the ‘Way to Work’ policy as evidence that his government were focused on dragging British capitalism out of economic collapse.
Under the ‘Way to Work’ the unemployed will be forced to take up any job on offer if they fail to find a job in their preferred sector, typically an area where they have expertise and experience, within just four weeks.
Failure to find a job in their chosen field of work will automatically lead to a cut in the Universal Credit (UC) benefit.
The four-week deadline is a huge cut in the previous limit of three months for workers to find a job.
UC payments are always in arrears meaning that the unemployed could now find their benefit cut a week before most claimants have even received their first payment.
It is a brutal attempt to drive the unemployed into accepting any low paid, insecure job that the bosses need to fill under the threat of having benefits cut to below the level needed to survive.
Already benefit levels are at poverty levels with the basic unemployment rate at its lowest for 30 years after repeated Tory freezes and cuts ever since the austerity war on workers, carried out by successive Tory governments since 2010, to rescue the bosses and bankers following the economic banking crash in 2008.
Even before the pandemic, 14.5 million people in Britain were living in poverty, with 2.4 million living in destitution.
Today, the Tories are determined to drive many millions more into destitution, using starvation as a whip to try and force workers and young people into the low paid jobs that are all bankrupt British capitalism has to offer.
But the working class and especially youth have an ingrained rebellious streak against being forced into servitude for the profit of the capitalist class.
Workers have never bowed down to the whip of benefit sanctions with even the government’s own spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), finding that there is no evidence that cutting benefits actually work.
In a report on previous Tory cuts and sanctions to unemployment benefits, the NAO found that sanctioned claimants were just as likely to stop claiming benefits altogether as they were to getting a job.
The only response from the Labour Party to this attack on workers was for the shadow employment minister, Alison McGovern, to complain that it ‘has more to do with trying to save the Prime Minister’s job than supporting people into work’.
She ignored the real reason behind the Tory attack, namely the fear that workers are demanding increased pay to meet the spiralling inflation and massive increases in the cost of living from the explosion in energy bills.
This attempt to force the unemployed to take on poverty level wages is an attack on every worker and their trade unions fighting for wage increases.
As the NAO report has revealed the working class and youth are not prepared to tamely submit to the brutality of the Tories and today this rebellious refusal is being transformed into a revolutionary determination to fight.
All that holds back the working class from bringing down this disintegrating Tory government is the refusal of the trade union leaders to organise any real fight.
The burning issue of the day is to remove these leaders who sit back and merely call for the Tories to be more ‘humane’ in their treatment of people and replace them with a leadership prepared to unite the trade union movement with the millions of unemployed and workers outside unions in a mass general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will nationalise the major industries and banks, placing them under workers management as part of building a socialist planned economy that produces for the benefit of all, not the profits of a handful of capitalist parasites.
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