A 45 strong delegation of Tata steel workers from Port Talbot were at the Trade Union Congress in Brighton yesterday.
They had come to the TUC to fight for support for their struggle to defend their jobs and pensions. They told News Line: ‘We don’t know what Tata or the government are doing. Since January we have lost 1000 jobs, and since then the sale of Tata has been suspended.
‘We are uncertain about our future. There are still 3,000 of us at Port talbot and several thousand at other plants around the country. We are worried about our jobs and our pensions. But more than that we are worried about the loss of manufacturing in this country. Without steel, manufacturing in this country it will be virtually non existent. We fear being shafted over our jobs and pensions. The TUC must take responsibility to defend our jobs and manufacturing industry as a whole.’
These workers have been deserted by the TUC Congress. The TUC is not taking the responsibility of defending steel workers jobs and manufacturing industry as a whole. It is looking the other way especially when action to defend these jobs and the junior doctors is suggested.
Obviously the steel works should be occupied now and a general strike called to secure the nationalisation of the steel industry, beginning from the date of the Junior Doctors first five day strike action on October 5. This would bring millions of people into the battle to defend jobs, wages, basic rights and the NHS.
Meanwhile, inside the TUC its general secretary O’Grady warned ‘greedy’ businesses, focussing on Sports Direct saying: ‘Sports Direct may be in the spotlight now, but they are not the only ones. There are other big companies that bring shame on our country. So let me give fair warning to any greedy business that treats its workers like animals – we will shine a light on you.’
Presumably the way forward is for the trade unions to buy shares in the sweatshops so that they can expose them at shareholders AGMs, and in this way change the world!!!
This is just putting on a moral outrage show, instead of waging a real struggle. They are trying to drain oceans of capitalist market anarchy with a moral teaspoon!
O’Grady added: ‘Run a big brand with a dirty little secret? A warehouse of people paid less than the minimum wage? A fleet of couriers who are slaves to an app? Let me put you on notice. There will be no hiding place. We will organise and we will win,’ she said. She didn’t explain just why the TUC had allowed this situation to develop!
In fact, the only way to halt the spread of the zero-hour plague is by taking action to bring down the government and going forward to a workers government and socialism. Delivery firm Hermes is now facing a possible investigation after a report alleged some of its drivers receive below the minimum wage. Tory Business minister Margot James has requested HM Revenue and Customs to look into arrangements used by Hermes. She was responding to a report by Labour MP Frank Field into complaints from 78 current and former Hermes couriers.
Field’s report, which was sent to Prime Minister Theresa May, said Hermes’s practice of employing its drivers as self-employed workers sees many of them ‘paid an hourly rate that is much lower than the National Living Wage’.
Field, a Labour MP, told the BBC he was ‘delighted’ at Ms James’s response: ‘It shows the government has changed step on how it responds to these reports.’ Tory sympathy is cheap, when what is required is mass action!
Field’s report, also claimed there was ‘serious bullying from some of the middle-men and women who manage the operation for Hermes and who seem to be enforcing an employee contract under the cover of self-employment’. Yes, the capitalist crisis is bringing back the bad old days at a record speed!
The TUC is dodging the struggle against the Tory government who are setting out to crucify the junior doctors, to privatise the NHS, and to dump the working class back into the dark ages, in which Port Talbot will be a ghost town made up of zero hours workers. It is dodging the battle behind a smoke-screen of moral effluvia!
‘Fighting the bosses’ cannot be limited to buying trade union shares in sweat houses in order to shine a light on their horrors, out of which the ruling class as a whole is making billions.
The job of the TUC is not to try and do a little good by spreading a bit of sympathy among crocodile tear Tories. The job of the TUC is to mobilise millions of the oppressed behind the power of the organised trade unions to get rid of capitalism.
The task of the hour is to mobilise the 7 million workers in the trade unions for a general strike behind which will rally all of the oppressed to defend the steel industry, the junior doctors and the NHS, by bringing down the Tories and bringing in a workers government and socialism.
This political leap will bring an economic leap to a new society where there will be jobs and homes for all, and where people will contribute to society what they can and take from it what they need. The day of the super-exploiters will be over.