HUNDREDS of thousands of teachers and public servants are preparing to take action in the biggest protest so far against the Government’s cuts. And on the day they will be joined by many others who will refuse to cross picket lines. Over a million workers will be taking part in the day of action on 30th June, the biggest since the General Strike and the first massive blow of the union resistance to the Tory-led coalition’s austerity measures, which are driving down the living standards of millions upon millions of working people.
David Cameron’s government claims that it’s ready to negotiate but they’ve made it clear that there’s nothing to talk about accept the timetable for implementing the draconian measures designed to make workers pay for the capitalist crisis.
They claim that raising the retirement age, cutting pensions, reducing welfare benefits, cutting and privatising the health service and the rest of what remains of the public sector is inevitable. But it will only happen if we allow them to get away with it.
While we’re told to tighten our belts and work longer for less pay the rich are getting richer. The wealth of the millionaires has risen by 18 per cent collectively over the past year and the top 1,000 richest people in Britain now have between them over £60 billion more than they had a year ago.
These parasites live the lives of Roman emperors while working people, who produce all the wealth that they plunder, are expected to simply grin and bear it until the supposed “up-turn” comes round.
But the Tories and their Liberal Democrat collaborators have failed to undermine the action with their threat to bring in more anti-union legislation in the future. The bleats of the dregs of the Blairite faction, still in the Labour Party because they’ve nowhere else to go, have been ignored. However the response from the Labour leadership has been lukewarm at the best.
Miliband & Co want the unions’ support and they want they unions’ money but they don’t want to give much back in return. Labour’s “challenge” to the Cameron plan is little more than the feeble social-Keynesianism of the last days of the Brown government, designed to cushion the worst effects of slump with some minor reforms to lessen the worst effects of austerity amongst the poor.
Labour should be defending every existing right that workers possess, including their pensions and welfare benefits. They should be demanding the complete restoration of the “welfare state” and the public sector that Labour built up after the Second World War and which could still be easily paid for if the rich were taxed at the levels that existed in its hey-day in the 1970s.
Rank and file pressure from the millions of affiliated members can change Labour’s direction like the mass movement that has propelled the union leaders into next week’s confrontation with the Government.
But one swallow doesn’t make a summer and one day of action will not stop the Government in its tracks. Everyone must work to make 30th June a successful and massive demonstration of anger and solidarity. But it can only be a stepping stone for future mass co-ordinated strike action to force the Government to back down and if it won’t to force it to stand down and call another election.