Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/695/13216

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2011

The Socialist editorial

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

30 June coordinated strike action by the PCS civil service union and NUT, ATL and UCU teaching unions, photo Paul Mattsson

30 June coordinated strike action by the PCS civil service union and NUT, ATL and UCU teaching unions, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

This government of millionaires claimed that its programme of savage cuts in public spending would eliminate Britain's structural deficit by 2014-15. Now, as the Socialist predicted, David Cameron has been forced to admit that this is impossible.

The government's assertion that the private sector would fill the gap created by slashing the public sector has been shown to be the nonsense it always was. Instead the deepening of the capitalist economic crisis, combined with the surge in unemployment and fall in taxes collected as a result of the public sector cuts, has even raised the prospect of an increase in the deficit.

The Con-Dems, however, are continuing to cut regardless. Only the super-rich are getting better off in Cameron's Britain. In the last year alone directors' pay in FTSE 100 companies grew by 49%. The latest figures from the High Pay Commission show that the gap between the richest and the rest of us is now the highest it has been since Queen Victoria was on the throne!

Meanwhile, government cuts are destroying the lives of millions - of the young, the old, the sick, the disabled - and will mean a lower quality of life for the vast majority of people.

Enough is enough! The time is overdue to stand up and fight back. That is what millions of public sector workers are doing by taking strike action on 30 November (N30) in defence of their pension rights. This is the biggest single day of strike action since 1926 and is terrifying the government.

The government has told public sector workers that they must pay more for their pensions, work longer and get much less on retirement. They say that 'gold-plated public sector pensions are no longer affordable. But as one PCS member tweeted, Tory cabinet minister Francis Maude is set to get a 731,000 pension pay-out and an annual 43,825 pension, while the average PCS member gets 4,200 a year.

N30 is in defence of pensions, but it is also a powerful weapon in the struggle against all cuts. Workers are facing pay cuts, job cuts, having to do interviews to keep jobs that they have worked in for decades, as well as cuts to all the services they rely on. Three million workers on strike will provide a taste to the Con-Dem bullies of who they are messing with. Working class people have huge potential power when they are organised and have a leadership that is ready to fight to win.

The trade unions need to make it clear to the government that N30 is not a token strike but part of a determined strategy to win. The TUC must set the next strike date for further coordinated action - another 24-hour strike or stepping up to 48 hours to make it clear to the government that they are on to a loser. That should be in the next two months.

Further action should also be spread to the private sector. A discussion should be held on making the next 24-hour strike a general strike, including private as well as public sector workers. As a minimum a call must be put out for all industrial action - private and public - to be coordinated. For example, construction electricians are currently balloting over attacks on their national pay deal (with pay cuts of up to 35%) by construction companies who are lining up to receive government bailouts.

Other strikes

National action on the pensions can also be supplemented by strike action in areas facing specific cuts such as the over 21,000 HM Revenue and Customs staff who could strike over privatisation plans.

If a fighting strategy is to be implemented it is essential that decisions on the struggle are not left in the hands of the national trade union leaders. We demand that trade union members have democratic control of the negotiations at every stage.

Within the trade unions we need to begin to build fighting left organisations that struggle to ensure the trade unions fight in their members' interests. One demand of such organisations should be for regular elections of full-time officials and for them to be paid no more than a workers' wage. The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) also has an important role to play in bringing together militant trade unionists.

Coordinated strike action has the potential to bring down this rotten Con-Dem government. To succeed in doing this would give huge confidence to millions of workers. However, Labour coming to power would not lead to an end to the attacks workers are facing.

The overwhelming majority of Labour's funding comes from trade unions that are taking part in N30, but it does not represent trade unionists' interests. Ed Balls made it clear at this year's Labour Party conference that a Labour government would also cut public sector workers' pensions, demanding, just like the Con-Dems, that workers work longer, pay more and get less. At local level every single Labour-led council has implemented the Con-Dem cuts. Incredibly, not even one single Labour councillor has voted against a Labour council implementing cuts.

Ed Miliband showed which side he was on when he condemned the 30 June strike. To add insult to injury Ed Miliband was then photographed in parliament laughing over a cup of tea with Cameron and Clegg, while the pickets stood outside. Now he has refused to give support to N30 despite pressure even from the Daily Mirror not to criticise "carers, dinner ladies, council workers, NHS employees, teachers, Jobcentre staff and tax collectors [for] rebelling at being asked to pick up the tab for banksters' bonuses" by taking strike action.

N30 demonstrates the enormous potential industrial power of the organised working class. However, if we don't have a political voice as well, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. We argue that the trade union movement should begin to build a new party - a party that stands in the interests of the majority.

For the last 18 months the Socialist Party has participated in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) an electoral alliance involving leading militant trade unionists from the RMT, PCS and NUT. TUSC plays an important role, enabling trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand candidates against the pro-austerity consensus of the capitalist parties. However, the potential exists for this to develop on a far wider scale in the coming period. During the strike on 30 June, every call made for trade unionists to stand for election themselves as trade union 'anti-cuts candidates' was cheered to the rafters.

Programme

Even if trade union candidates were to initially stand on a limited programme - opposition to all cuts in jobs, pensions, services and benefits, and repeal of the anti-trade union laws - it would mark a major step forward. However, the struggle that public sector workers are currently fighting goes beyond those immediate issues, in reality it is a struggle against the consequences of capitalism today and therefore poses the need for a socialist alternative.

The economic crisis was not caused by working class people; it is a crisis of the capitalist system. The same bankers and financiers who triggered the crisis by gambling vast sums are now demanding that governments bail them out. Not just in Britain, but across Europe, governments are willingly doing the financiers' bidding.

A socialist society would be run in the interests of the millions, not the billionaires. For a start it would nationalise the banking and finance sector - not to prop them up and leave the bankers in charge like New Labour did - but to run them democratically to help meet the needs of the majority. However, that would only be the start.

Capitalism has led to enormous economic destruction. In Britain around 10% of wealth has already been lost as a result of the recession, due to factories and workplaces closing, resulting in 2.62 million and rising officially unemployed. That is why a crucial step towards solving the crisis would be to take the big corporations that dominate Britain's economy into democratic public ownership in order to allow for production to be planned for need and not for profit.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 November 2011:


Pensions' strike, N30

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

Reasons to be on strike


Socialist Party feature

Capitalism is crisis - there is an alternative - fight for socialism!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Con-Dems worsen the housing crisis

Massive job cuts undermining NHS

Millions unemployed - workers and students must unite and fight!

Them & Us


The Socialist - Readers' comments

Tragic effect of recession

Why I became a socialist


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jarrow marchers put forward an alternative

No answers from politicians on Newsnight

Save Coventry Sure Start

Update: Occupy

Support the anti-cuts election challenge

State intimidation of young protesters

Tories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

Women: sick of sexism, discrimination and cuts?

Mansfield - build houses, create jobs

Pensions protest in Maude's constituency


International socialist news and analysis

Why Europe's capitalist leaders cannot save the floundering eurozone project

Ruling PSOE battered in Spanish general election

Syria: Eight months of mass protests met with bloody brutality

Egyptian masses fight for real change


Socialist Party workplace news

Greece and Italy get unelected technocrats - Southampton gets chief executives!

Construction workers fight pay cuts

Fire service cuts

Bus drivers strike over pay

Workplace In brief


Obituary

Obituary - Geoff Atkins


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 November 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Public sector:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

Cuts:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

Government:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Trade union:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Socialist:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

Pensions:

triangleSet for national strike action

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2