Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/701/13512
Stand up to Tory bullies
United action can stop Con-Dem attacks
Roger Shrives, Lewisham Socialist Party
Cameron's Con-Dem coalition wants workers to pay for the bosses' economic crisis. This millionaires' government wants to cut workers' jobs, pay and conditions such as pensions. In the public sector it also aims to slash many of the services that these workers provide.
But Cameron has a problem. People value most jobs done by public servants far more than they respect his 'posh boys' cabinet. So the government resorts to an old Tory trick, trying to belittle or demonise public servants.
Firstly, Cameron tried to bash the understaffed, underpaid job of nursing. He recently lectured nurses, telling them to "talk to patients at least once an hour" and insulted them by saying that "few nurses know that caring is their main job".
A London mental health nurse comments: "Cameron spoke about us improving care but how can this happen when he and his government are cutting the NHS budget, nurses are being sacked and our workload is massively increasing?
"Cameron's patronising tone made many nurses want to assign him to emptying bedpans permanently. His suggestion of introducing hourly rounds would increase paperwork and decrease our time for our patients.
"Nurses in trade unions will most certainly talk with our patients - as we already do. But we'll also unite with them and defeat Cameron's attacks on our NHS!"
Just days later, Tory education secretary Michael Gove announced plans to make it easier for so-called 'underperforming' teachers to be sacked. He was later backed up by the government's pet teaching inspection organisation Ofsted (see Ofsted: "requires improvement").
Martin Powell-Davies of the National Union of Teachers' national executive says that Gove's 'Bullies Charter' has nothing to do with improving education.
"Further teacher stress, even greater workload and further demoralisation will only make things worse. These plans are about bullying and intimidating teachers so we are too frightened to stand up for ourselves - and for education.
"The Con-Dem pensions attacks mean that many teachers will have to work on until 68 or even older, trying to keep up with the unrelenting pressure in our underfunded and over-monitored schools. Now Gove's making clear that, if you can't take the pace, you'll be sacked long before you reach your pension age."
"Teachers have to fight these plans - but we must also keep up the struggle on pensions. We must keep urgently talking with other unions about plans for further strike action against attacks on our pensions."
These crude Tory attacks are attempts to soften up the opposition to Con-Dem cutbacks. The best way for public sector workers to beat these cuts would start by repeating the united trade union fight of the brilliantly successful 30 November strike.
In The Socialist 18 January 2012:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis