DRIVEN forward by the shock of capitalism’s energy catastrophe the working class is now on the march.
Unite Wales union NHS members have voted to reject their three per cent pay increase. 64 per cent said they were prepared to take strike action and 80 per cent said that they would take action short of a strike.
Richard Munn, lead officer for the NHS in Unite Wales commented: ‘This consultative ballot clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst Unite members. Unite members regularly express to us how angry they are about the three per cent pay increase.’
In fact, NHS workers are demanding a 15 per cent pay rise for all health workers across the board!
Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members are absolutely livid that the Johnson government has placed a contract for driverless trains on London Underground. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The news that the government is pressing ahead with wasting money on a consultancy project on driverless trains on London Underground when there are massive challenges facing the transport network shows their twisted set of priorities.
‘This is all part of the government-driven cuts assault on transport in London and RMT is pledged to fight it with every tool at our disposal including the use of industrial action.
‘Driverless trains are a Tory fantasy that should be consigned to the science fiction shelf. They are dangerous nonsense.’
In fact, the RMT has demanded that the government make urgent moves to bring the entire rail network into public ownership after it was announced yesterday morning that the vital SouthEastern commuter service has effectively collapsed and is being taken over by the public Operator of Last Resort.
Lynch said: ‘This latest public sector rescue of a privately operated rail service should kill off the risky and expensive nonsense of rail privatisation once and for all.
‘It appears that this collapse is all about (rail privateer) Govia playing fast and loose with their financial commitments, and raises serious questions about the viability of their other operations including the busy Thameslink services.
‘It’s time to put the rest of Britain’s failing private rail operations out of their misery, cut out the middleman and build a public railway that’s fit for a green, post-Covid future.’
Meanwhile, Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, told the BBC: ‘I understand the Serious Fraud Office will be involved in this, so there is a limit to what I can say.’
He went on: ‘We need confidence in our railways right now, and if there appears to be evidence of wrongdoing, then it is right to sweep away.’
Meanwhile, the current ‘Labour leader’, ex-prosecutor Sir Keir Starmer, is at war with Labour’s trade union base to try to prevent the Labour Party demanding an increase in the minimum wage to £15 an hour.
Labour’s Conference was due to pass a motion yesterday calling for this to be Party policy.
Labour frontbencher Andy McDonald resigned on Monday saying the leadership had ordered him to argue against the rise, making his position ‘untenable’.
The Unite union put the motion calling for the minimum wage to increase to £15 to a vote. The current minimum wage is £8.91 for those aged 23 and over, £8.36 for those aged 21 to 22 and £6.56 for 18 to 20-year olds.
The Unite motion also includes demands for an end to zero-hour contracts and calls for a ‘better work-life balance’. In a scathing resignation letter, McDonald claimed the leader’s office had instructed him go to a meeting at the party conference and ‘argue against a national minimum wage of £15 an hour and against statutory sick pay at the living wage.
‘After many months of a pandemic when we made commitments to stand by key workers, I cannot now look those same workers in the eye and tell them they are not worth a wage that is enough to live on, or that they don’t deserve security when they are ill,’ he added.
It is clear not only that the working class is on the march, but that there is not a moment to lose.
Workers must now force the TUC union leaders to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and a socialist planned economy to replace the collapsing, out of date capitalist system!