WITH THE annual conference of the TUC opening on Monday the leadership of the trade unions have produced a report detailing the catastrophic effects of austerity cuts and attacks on jobs imposed by the Tories on workers and their families since 2010.
The report revealed that 3.7 million people have insecure jobs while 1.85 million self-employed earn less than the minimum wage. Workers are still facing the longest pay squeeze for 200 years resulting in one in five families relying on debt just to survive. Unsecured debt per household now stands at £15,880, an increase of £1,160 in the past year.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We’re at risk of going back to 19th-century working conditions.’ She continued: ‘We urgently need to reset the balance of power in our economy and give people more of a say about what happens to them at work.’
So this is the TUC’s proposal to end the drive to push workers back to the conditions of the 19th century – more workers on the boards, more collaboration between the TUC bureaucracy and the bosses.
O’Grady knows all about seats on the board for trade union officials. This year she was appointed by the Tory government to a seat on the board of the Bank of England, replacing Dave Prentis (head of Unison).
Having a trade union leader on the board has not made the slightest difference to the lives of workers who are being driven into destitution as a result of austerity cuts brought in to bail out the banks after they collapsed in 2008.
It has not stopped the closure of hospitals or the privatisation of the public services like the railways and NHS, or food banks appearing for the first time in schools. All it has done, is provide a comfortable living for union leaders who have not lifted a finger to fight the Tories and capitalist austerity.
Not surprisingly, the TUC is determined to keep this reactionary corporatist set-up going. This is what is behind this report and O’Grady explicitly calling for Brexit to be abandoned in favour of remaining tied forever to the EU and its courts, saying that a ‘hard Brexit would hit poor people first and hardest’.
The TUC, with just three exceptions, are backing Corbyn and the gang of Remainers in Parliament who are organising a counter-revolution against Brexit.
These union leaders are more concerned with staying within the EU with its ‘social charter’ that holds out the promise of legally enforced rights to negotiations and seats on the boards for union officials rather than fighting for the working class.
They deliberately ignore the EU laws on privatisation of public services. It was EU directive 91/440 that the Tories used to privatise the railways.
Similarly, they ignore the fact that under EU legislation it is illegal to re-nationalise industries that have been previously privatised – a law that Corbyn also ignores in his enthusiasm for remaining in the EU.
Not surprisingly, it is the RMT railworkers union that is amongst the three unions that have fought against remaining tied to the EU ‘bosses club’.
Reports from the TUC about how workers have suffered cannot disguise the fact that all these austerity attacks have taken place long before the working class delivered a massive blow to the ruling class by voting to quit the EU in 2016.
Nor can it disguise the fact that the TUC have refused to wage a single fight over jobs, pay or against the destruction of public services carried out under the umbrella of EU law.
The working class must now intervene and demand that these TUC leaders end their corporatist collaboration with the bosses and the EU or be kicked out and replaced by a new leadership.
A new leadership prepared to mobilise the huge strength of the trade unions must be built to organise a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers and carry out the will of the people expressed in the 2016 referendum and leave the EU on October 31st.
Join our lobby of the TUC on Monday 9th September to fight for these demands.