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The News Line: Editorial The bosses refuse to back May! Now is the time for a general strike to overthrow them both! A PLAN by the Tories to demonstrate that the bosses of Britain’s leading companies are firmly behind the chaotic Brexit negotiations blew up in their faces this week and exposed the splits and divisions at the very centre of the capitalist class.


A letter from the government was sent to the boardrooms of leading FTSE 100 companies begging them to sign a letter offering their full public support to the Tories’ Brexit negotiations, to ‘welcome’ the government’s strategy and praise its plans for a ‘transition period’ within the EU to cushion the exit.

This secret letter also called on them to agree that the legislation coming before Parliament next Monday, the EU Withdrawal Bill, would ‘make Britain ready for life outside the EU’. Unfortunately for May and the Tories this plan unravelled right from the start with many of the bosses and business leaders refusing to sign up and in fact leaking the letter to the media causing maximum damage to the government.

One FTSE executive said: ‘There is no way we could sign this given the current state of chaos surrounding the talks.’ This refusal is understandable as the letter reads: ‘We all share an understanding that Brexit is happening, a commitment to ensure that we make a success of the outcome for the whole country, and a confidence that a global Britain has the potential to become one of the most productive economies of the 21st century.’

These leading capitalists who refused to sign are only too aware that this is a load of rubbish; British capitalism is on its knees with a growth rate the lowest in Europe apart from the bankrupt Portuguese economy. Crucially they don’t share the understanding that Brexit is ‘happening’.

They are banking on a new coalition of Tory ‘remainers’ and right-wing Labour MPs emerging to fight a general election when the May government inevitably collapses in the near future, to form some ‘government of national emergency’ to overturn the Brexit vote.

In fact, Blairite MPs carried out a coup on Labour’s ruling national executive to dump the party’s commitment to the vote to leave the EU in favour of staying within the single market for an indefinite period – a step towards completely overturning the referendum vote. They have the full backing of the TUC leaders who openly campaign to remain on the grounds that only the EU can protect workers’ rights in Britain – a confession that the TUC itself refuses to defend the rights of its members, relying on 100% capitalist EU courts to do it for them.

These courts certainly haven’t protected the pay and conditions that millions of workers have had imposed on them by the Tories over the past ten years. The TUC itself produced a report yesterday exposing the in-work poverty caused by pay cuts and wage caps.

This study found that one in eight low paid workers are forced to miss meals to make ends meet while one in six had left heating off in cold weather to save on energy bills and the same number had resorted to pawn shops to survive.

Instead of publishing this damning report on the effects of capitalist austerity as a clarion call to next week’s annual TUC Conference to take action against the Tories the TUC leaders buried it, only publishing it as a personal blog by one of their officials with the ‘support’ of TUC general secretary Francis O’Grady.

The reality is that as the splits tear apart the capitalist class the TUC has come down firmly on the side of the bosses against the working class, and limits its ambition to being token workers representatives on the boards of capitalist companies to advise the bosses on how to handle the working class.

At the TUC next week the demand must be to kick out these leaders who are conspiring with the bosses and Tories to stay within the capitalist EU and who refuse to lead any fight for wages or jobs.

The TUC must be replaced and new leaders brought forward to end class collaboration and immediately organise a general strike to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism. The WRP and Young Socialist will be lobbying the TUC Conference on Monday and fighting for these demands. We call on all workers and young people to join us.

 
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