Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/931/24202

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2017

What we think

Strikes show workers' power - coordinated action on a mass scale needed

Southwark station was one of many closed by the RMT and TSSA tube strike, 9.1.17, photo by Helen Pattison

Southwark station was one of many closed by the RMT and TSSA tube strike, 9.1.17, photo by Helen Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

After gloating about the decline in strikes to record levels in 2015, just months later, the right-wing Tory press is now frothing at the mouth as workers take action in on the tube, railways and at airports. They would like to go even further than the Tories' restrictive anti-union laws. From a low level, the first ten months of 2016 saw 100,000 more days lost through strike action than 2015 - a 40% increase.

From celebrating the weakness of unions, the press has had to recognise, albeit hysterically, the power of workers when they are organised and prepared to fight. In particular, this was shown by the sight of stations closed across London - including the evacuation of the massive Clapham Junction - because of the effect of the joint RMT/TSSA London Underground station strike on 9 January. Southern Rail accepted that nothing would run when drivers from Aslef and RMT walked out for three days in that long-running dispute.

Outrageously, Labour London Mayor Sadiq Kahn has attacked the tube unions for the stoppage. But the strike is against cost-cutting by TfL that has seen over 800 workers lose their jobs in stations with the closure of ticket offices. As predicted by unions, a review by management concluded that this has made the Underground dangerously understaffed. The threat of action has seen them concede 200 new jobs but this is still totally inadequate.

Nationalisation

As with Southern Rail, workers are taking action to make the transport system safe for themselves to work in and the public to travel on. The Socialist Party welcomes the policy of Jeremy Corbyn to renationalise the privatised rail companies.

But he should go further than his proposal that this should happen when each franchise comes up for renewal. They should be immediately taken into public ownership with no compensation for the fat cats who make profits out of rail workers and commuters while still benefitting from public subsidies. However, we support small shareholders being recompensed.

This is a crucial time for the rail unions and in particular the RMT. Driver Only Operations is the device of the rail bosses, backed up the Tory government to make cuts and more importantly to seek to attack the strength of one of the most important industrial unions. The industrial and political legacy of the late Bob Crow must be maintained. It is an important thorn in the side of the Tories and an inspiration to the rest of the union movement.

Similarly, the strike of the British Airways (BA) cabin crew is vital to defend the position of militant trade unionism at Heathrow in general and particularly in Unite at the airport. The dispute is to improve the low pay of those workers who were employed on an inferior 'mixed fleet' contract in the aftermath of the cabin crew dispute six years ago, despite the willingness of workers to fight management's attacks on jobs and terms and conditions.

But while it's true that there are no final victories for workers as long as capitalism remains, there are also no final defeats. This dispute is a real opportunity for Unite to show the new starters that the union is prepared and able to fight for them. As so many workers know, when there are two or more tiers of pay, management will try to equalise to the lowest. Therefore, the union has to aim to get everyone on the original contract, alongside fighting for a big pay rise.

The BA strike shows why it is essential that the Unite elections result is a defeat for the right-wing general secretary candidate Gerard Coyne, who would take the union backwards industrially, as well as act against Jeremy Corbyn on behalf of the Blairites.

Unite

We believe it is a mistake by Ian Allinson to threaten a spilt of the left vote by standing against Len McCluskey. Ian underestimates the challenge of Coyne, who is backed by the capitalist establishment, as last week's Financial Times editorial shows. Ian also tries to minimise the effect that a Coyne victory would have in Unite and the wider union movement. We have made criticisms of Len McCluskey but recognise the advances made under his leadership, which would be threatened if Coyne won.

The Tories are now accusing the transport unions of coordinating their action to "inflict maximum pain on commuters". Of course, the unions are taking action to defend themselves and the vast majority of commuters who are workers as well.

These and the other disputes that are breaking out can be won, which would give huge confidence to other workers who face similar issues that victories can be achieved. The movement developing against the cuts in the NHS, with a national demonstration on 4 March, also has the potential to win.

But unfortunately, as yet action isn't coordinated. But, faced with the massive generalised assault on workers' living standards, jobs and pensions, joint action on a mass scale - posing the idea of a 24-hour general strike - is what is required to face down the bosses and push back their weak and divided government, even get it out of power.

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


In The Socialist 11 January 2017:


NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown from spending cuts - demonstrate on 4 March!

Sustainability and Transformation plans - a repackaging of cuts

Worcestershire hospital deaths expose NHS crisis


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and accountability

Book review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot


What we think

Strikes show workers' power


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Cash for ash' scandal set to bring down Northern Ireland government

May slams 'economic inequalities' Tory policies created

Blair's multimillion plans to fight 'populism'

Bosses earn average salary in under three days

What we saw

Them & Us: 500k house party... 50p for rent


Labour Party

Haringey: pressure grows as Labour council cuts

Sick of sham consultations - give us a real fightback

Khan should attack bosses, not workers


Socialist Party workplace news

Tube strike solid in fight for jobs and safety

Support BA cabin crews' strike for fair pay

Sham Royal Mail pensions consultation - action needed

Unison legal battle looks into allegations 'Team Dave' broke rules during general secretary election

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the resistance against Trump

Socialist Party national women's meeting

2016: A record-breaking fighting fund year!

Closing of the children's centres could cost lives


International socialist news and analysis

Palestine/Israel: Everyday life under occupation


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Strike:

triangle13 million-strong Italian general strike

Workers:

triangleCelebrating May Day

triangleFrench Presidential elections: Le Pen - Big Business Policies To Blame

triangleMay Day 2002 Fight For A Socialist Alternative

Unions:

triangleAslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

triangle"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers

Jobs:

triangleWhat we saw

RMT:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Tories:

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: NHS cuts - What do The Tories' STP plans involve?

Len McCluskey:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Press:

triangleNew Socialist Party press

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleByelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

Nationalisation:

triangleEstablishment papers over Brexit chasms

Militant:

triangleObituary: John Pickett - 1954-2017

Fat cats:

triangleBosses' pay goes up by 82% for nothing

Socialist Party:

triangleVote Socialist

Anti-union laws:

triangleAnti-trade union laws used against 'Trees Action' protesters

Airport:

triangleIndia: struggle against land grab in Pune

Aslef:

triangleUnited fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake

Bob Crow:

triangleMusic review: No to TTIP

British Airways:

triangleBA strike: "We're being paid well below what we should be"

TSSA:

triangleRMT wins important tube jobs and grading victory

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

26/2/17

Socialist

Vote Socialist

26/2/17

May Day

May Day 2002 Fight For A Socialist Alternative

26/2/17

May Day

Celebrating May Day

24/2/17

Labour

Byelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

22/2/17

Wages

30% of people on inadequate incomes in UK

22/2/17

NHS

Support the NHS? Join the march!

22/2/17

The Socialist

What we saw

22/2/17

Fees

Stop the student loan sell-off - scrap all fees

22/2/17

Minimum wage

Argos fails to pay staff minimum wage - taxman cuts fine in half!

22/2/17

Health

Health cuts responsible for rise in deaths - reverse all austerity now

16/2/17

Aslef

Aslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

15/2/17

Socialist Students

Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

15/2/17

NHS

March to save #OurNHS

15/2/17

Local government

Council cuts can be fought - and they must be!

15/2/17

Benefits

Super-rich subsidised

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

triangle24 Feb Byelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

triangle24 Feb Needed: socialist councillors

triangle22 Feb Support the NHS? Join the march!

triangle22 Feb Thousands more protest and plan to walkout

triangle22 Feb February revolution 1917 - what lessons for today?

triangle21 Feb Dublin: #JobstownNotGuilty

triangle17 Feb Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

More ...

triangle26 Feb Wales Socialist Party conference

triangle27 Feb Leeds Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party in Leeds

triangle27 Feb Nottingham Socialist Party: The inspirational life of Eleanor Marx

triangle27 Feb Birmingham Central Socialist Party: NHS cuts - What do The Tories' STP plans involve?

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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