Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/765/16689

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 May 2013

Bedroom tax non-implementation

Only mass action can defeat it

Linda Taaffe, Secretary, National Shop Stewards Network
Axe the killer tax - end the bedroom tax now, photo  Socialist Party

Axe the killer tax - end the bedroom tax now, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

It is a tribute to the determination of disabled workers to stop cuts ruining their lives, that many have taken to the road of struggle in their own right alongside other workers.

Direct action is not only for the able-bodied. Disabled workers have taken part in the big TUC demonstrations, and Remploy workers organise in trade unions to try to save jobs.

Since disabled workers make up a huge proportion of people affected by the bedroom tax, it is natural to turn to the trade unions to see how they could help stop this draconian measure.

Some have raised the idea of urging civil servants and local authority workers to refuse to participate in administering these new laws.

Some have suggested that PCS, the civil service union, should do this now as a trade union action. The reasoning is understandable, but every strategy needs to be thought out carefully and agreed that it is the best road to take and one that has a good possibility of winning the objective.

While this kind of action by PCS workers may sound attractive, it is fraught with pitfalls. Firstly, it would not be a strike.

The job of some PCS workers entails administering many disagreeable procedures to all kinds of people like welfare claimants, migrant workers, even those convicted of crimes.

To refuse as individuals to carry out their job, or part of their job, would put them immediately in jeopardy. In today's climate it could get them the sack.

There are many other jobs where workers have to do things that go against their principles. For example, teachers have to participate in SATs tests which are hugely unpopular and detrimental to children.

However, for a teacher to refuse to participate in the testing regime could lead to a charge of gross misconduct.

This does not mean, however, that no campaign is waged on the issue. To the contrary teachers are constantly campaigning.

Poll Tax

Secondly, to refuse to participate as a whole union is by no means straightforward. A case would have to be put that was generally agreed by PCS members as a realistic way forward.

Is this possible? PCS and Unison members might argue that, why should they alone bear the brunt of defeating this government on the bedroom tax and other benefits.

What about local councillors, could they agree not to implement the bedroom tax? What about the Labour Party - could they promise to reverse these cuts after the next election?

Even if PCS action was a popular idea, to get a legal ballot would most likely not be possible, as the issue is 'political' and not a strict trade union grievance - thanks to Thatcher's anti-trade union laws.

A similar strategy was raised during the mighty anti-poll tax campaign in the early 1990s. It was suggested that local government workers be asked to refuse to deduct the poll tax from employees pay.

Although the idea was tossed around in the labour movement, it never came to anything for quite similar reasons; and there never was a clamour from town hall workers.

In the end this hated tax was defeated by a campaign of mass non-payment, backed up by anti-poll tax federation activists carrying out mass information work and telling workers about their rights on not letting bailiffs into their homes.

Also attending the magistrates' courts as McKenzie friends with summonsed workers helped clog up the works.

Eventually the Tories had to withdraw the poll tax after Thatcher was forced to resign as prime minister.

Mass action against the bedroom tax should be part of action against all cuts. Trade unions should work with anti-bedroom tax campaigns locally and nationally to build an anti-evictions army to physically oppose, resist and prevent attempted bedroom tax evictions through all peaceful means necessary.

They can also campaign for the writing off of any debt incurred due to the bedroom tax and campaign to recover the shortfall for local authorities and housing associations from the Tory-led government at Westminster.

Disabled activists could help stop this bedroom tax for all by adding their pressure to the call for the TUC to organise the biggest joint action for generations - a coordinated public/private sector strike against austerity.

There are many direct attacks on workers by the Con-Dems and bosses - on pay, pensions, jobs, etc - that coordinated action can be taken against. All workers, all trade unions should act together to stop this Con-Dem juggernaut.

In the meantime, disabled campaigners could be key organisers of mass defiance - especially of the bedroom tax. But, disabled campaigners have marched together with trade unions, now is the time to strike together to beat austerity!

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


In The Socialist 15 May 2013:


Fight the bedroom tax

Axe the killer tax: End the bedroom tax now

Bedroom tax non-implementation


Socialist Party news and analysis

Give us jobs, not Tory lies

Stop the health cuts!

Fat cat tax-dodging: 200 lorry loads of lolly!

Con-Dems' benefit fact fraud

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Japan's 'Abenomics'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

TUSC builds support in Leicester byelection

Swansea's food bank for students

British government supports murderous Sri Lankan regime

Socialist Party meeting against cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Gloves off in Mid Yorks hospital battle

Brighton bin workers fight pay cuts - this time from the Greens

Wales TUC: no fight against austerity

Unison leader 'gets it wrong' over action on pay

PCS conference 20-23 May

One Housing

Workplace news in brief


Reader's comment

Letter to the Tories who tell me to 'work hard and strive'


Socialist history

When mass action defeated Thatcher's poll tax

Yeadon Mill strike 1913


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Bedroom tax:

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

triangleTories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

triangleWhy I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

triangleCourt win against bedroom tax not enough

triangleWe are all Daniel Blake: no more deaths from benefit cuts

Tax:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleThem & Us

triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%

PCS:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Disabled:

triangleChatsworth ward campaign replies to Tory MP's intervention

triangleUN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

Poll tax:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

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