TUC MUST CALL GENERAL STRIKE! – bring down Tories – bring in a workers government

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RMT cleaners are determined to win their wages and jobs struggle

THE railways will be shut down for 3 days on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, when workers from Network Rail and 13 train operating companies take to picket lines across the country, in a battle for a decent pay rise and to halt job losses.

In a letter to Grant Shapps, who has been boasting that he will bring in anti-union laws to smash the rail unions, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch says it has become clear that the Treasury is ‘calling the shots’ and is organising employers to refuse to reach a negotiated settlement with the union.

Lynch writes: ‘It has become obvious in our discussions with the employers since the RMT ballot result that the government is retaining control over the conduct of negotiations with the RMT, and the Treasury in particular is calling the shots.

‘In effect in recent weeks the union has been negotiating with the government, but the government have not been in the room.’

‘I am now therefore calling for a meeting with you and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak … I hope you will be able to speak to me directly about resolving the dispute.’

There are no meaningful talks. The Tories and the bosses want to crush the rail unions.

Shapps is threatening the union with new anti-union laws and that when the strike is over, workers who struck will not be allowed to work overtime!

Shapps has tried to slap down the RMT.

Meanwhile the Unite union has observed that: ‘It’s not hard pressed workers who are driving inflation, it’s Britain’s bosses.’

Unite leader Sharon Graham said yesterday that: ‘It’s inflation and corporate profits, not workers’ wages, which are at the heart of the cost of living crisis currently gripping the UK.’

She cited a new Unite report – ‘Corporate Profiteering and the Cost of Living Crisis’ – which states that it is time to demand restraint on profiteering not pay.

An analysis of the FTSE 350 reveals profit margins for the UK’s biggest listed companies were 73% higher in 2021 than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Even though sales were down in 2021, profits still rocketed. Even removing energy companies from the tally, average profit margins still jumped an astonishing 52%.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘The weight of evidence shows that the UK is in the grip of a profiteering crisis.

‘Workers’ wages and what they can buy, are being squeezed by corporate wreckers pursuing runaway profits, quite literally at our expense.’

A further examination of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that company profits jumped 11.74% in the six months from October 2021 to March 2022. In the same period labour costs fell by 0.8%, accounting for inflation.

This jump in UK-wide company profits is responsible for 58.7% of inflation in the last half year – as opposed to just 8.3% due to labour costs.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both pointed the finger at workers’ pay warning of a ‘wage price spiral’.

‘But the weight of evidence clearly shows workers’ wages, and what they can buy, are being squeezed by companies pursuing runaway profits.’

Sharon Graham said: ‘The Governor of the Bank of England and Boris Johnson want workers to think it’s irresponsible to demand better wages to pay for crippling food and energy prices.

‘But Unite’s report exposes the truth. It’s not hard pressed workers who are driving inflation, it’s whole swathes of corporate Britain. In the last six months company profits were responsible for almost 60% of inflation.’

She concluded: ‘It’s not just energy companies. There are businesses right across our economy and their directors who have made vast sums of money from Covid-19 and the inflationary pressures that have followed.

‘Those who have profited from the crisis should pay for it. Unite makes absolutely no apologies for demanding better pay for our members. Wage restraint? It’s time to demand profit restraint.’

It is obvious that the TUC must not just march to Parliament. The TUC must call a general strike to bring down this profiteers government and bring in a workers’ government and socialism.