|The News Line: Editorial
Monday, 11 September 2017
Congress must call general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government!
THE TUC meets in Brighton this week for its most vital Congress in living memory. It meets at a time when the working class throughout the country are sick to death of the never ending austerity attacks by the Tories, attacks that are driving them back to the living standards of the 19th century.
With workers across the country demanding action all the present leadership of the TUC is offering are platitudes and the promise of unspecified campaigns to convince the Tory government to relent. However, the leaders of the TUC are joining hands with the right-wing of the Labour Party in an effort to derail Brexit and keep British capitalism firmly in the thrall of the EU as part of a single market.
They have nailed their colours firmly to the mast of ‘saving’ British capitalism at the expense of the working class. For the past ten years of the most vicious and sustained attacks on wages, the NHS and the entire welfare state, these leaders have sat back and done precisely nothing apart from bemoaning the terrible fate of workers.
Not a single action has been called to fight the attacks on public services while every pay cut, disguised as a pay cap, has met only verbal opposition from the TUC. Their refusal to fight for anything has led to the situation where report after report details how working people are being driven quite literally into poverty and destitution.
Even yesterday, a study commissioned by the Local Government Association revealed that over 2 million poor families will lose more than £50 a week because of welfare cuts, rent rises and the sharp increase in inflation. Thousands of nurses marched through London last Wednesday demanding ‘scrap the cap’, which has resulted in a 14% cut in their wages over the past 7 years, and their union, the RCN, promising to ballot for industrial action to break the 1% pay cap on public sector workers.
The PCS union’s national executive has approved a national ballot to consult its members on industrial action to break the Tory pay cap. This is just a very pale reflection of the determination of workers to no longer put up with seeing their lives destroyed for the profits of the bosses and bankers. In fact it is a movement that has gone way beyond the demand for ending the 1% pay cap.
As the figures demonstrate even the PCS demand for an above inflation wage increase will do nothing to claw back the losses to workers or end the destruction of the welfare state. It is no accident that this call to scrap the cap has been taken up by members of the Tory government. Fearful of the rising tide of revolution that austerity has created within the working class they see it as a way of heading off this mass movement.
If Theresa May tries to dig herself out of trouble by making this minor concession she will be applauded by the TUC general council and assured of their continued support for her collapsing government. The issue facing the working class is not replacing 1% pay rises with small increases but of bringing down the Tories and putting an end to capitalist austerity forever.
Millions of workers have shown that they are ready to join this fight, only the refusal of the TUC general council to call action is keeping this weak minority Tory government in power. In 2012 TUC conference passed overwhelmingly a motion from the POA to consider organising a general strike to stop austerity cuts.
Since then the TUC general council have done nothing with this policy except first ignore it and then remove it.They bear the full responsibility for allowing the Tories to try and drive the working class into the gutter. The time has come to call a halt to this treachery by kicking out the leaders who refuse to fight and replacing them with a new leadership that will end the policy of clinging on to the EU and fight for a complete break with this capitalist conspiracy.
Above all this means bringing forward a trade union leadership that will organise the general strike that workers are demanding to bring down the Tories and advance to a workers’ government and socialism. This Congress must bring forward this leadership and reject the old and tired Tory worshippers.
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