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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2006

Brown attacks public sector workers

GORDON BROWN has declared war on public-sector workers' pay. In a recent speech to the bosses' organisation the CBI, he called for a three-year pay freeze. Brown is clearly setting out the programme he wants to implement whenever he eventually replaces Blair as prime minister.

Jim McFarlane, co-chair Dundee City UNISON, personal capacity

The chancellor was also quoted as saying: "On pay, we must do more to encourage local and regional pay flexibility. And with this year's public sector pay settlements averaging just 2.25% we are maintaining vigilance in the fight against inflation - and next year and the year after that we will maintain this discipline of low overall settlements."

But the break-up of national pay bargaining would be a big setback for workers in the public sector. Tens of thousands are already working in low-paid jobs. Brown's proposals would force even more into the poverty trap, relying on state benefits to top up their low wages.

While workers have seen their pay rise by the miserly amounts quoted by Brown they have had to face big rises in living costs. Council tax levels have soared and the charges set by the private power companies have gone through the roof. These same power companies have been recording record profits. Even highway robber Dick Turpin would have been embarrassed at this.

These proposals should be a huge wake-up call to the leaders of many public-sector unions, who try to paint Gordon Brown taking over from Blair as something trade unionists should welcome. Gordon Brown is just as much in the pocket of big business as Blair.

Instead of cosying up to him they should be preparing widespread industrial action, not only to defend existing bargaining structures but also a massive campaign to improve public services and the pay and conditions of millions of public-sector workers.

Public Service Not Private Profit

Join the lobby, 27 June

SINCE BLAIR came to office in 1997, New Labour has carried on the Tories' drive to privatise our public services. Outsourcing, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and other forms of private sector involvement are threatened all throughout the public sector.

On Tuesday, 27 June, public-sector workers from many different unions are supporting the Public Services NOT private profit rally and mass lobby of Parliament.

The unions currently officially backing this are civil service union PCS, firefighters' union FBU, rail unions RMT and ASLEF, lecturers' union NATFHE, probation officers NAPO, community and youth workers union CYWU, journalists NUJ and prison officers' union POA.

We've got privatisation, hundreds of thousands of threatened job cuts, pay and pension rights at risk. As the letter from PCS to its members says: "The present attack on public services is on such a scale that we are in danger of witnessing the undermining of the very concept of public-service provision in this country."

Are you a trade union activist? Or are you just angry at the way that public services are being handed over to the private sector regardless of the cost?

Whatever the case, join the mass rally at 12 noon on Tuesday 27 June at Westminster Central Hall. We want public services not private profit!

"AGAIN IT'S low-paid public-sector workers who are on the end of Gordon Brown's attacks, our pensions first and now our well-earned pay increase. I dread to think what else he has up his sleeve! I for one will not take this lying down and I'm sure millions of other workers won't either. Prepare for another fight Mr Brown! "

Michelle, nursery nurse and UNISON member, Dundee


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In The Socialist 22 June 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS cuts... closures... privatisation... We're fighting back!

Fight the cuts in community services

Socialist Party youth and students

Fight Low Pay

Socialist Students receive standing ovation

Socialist Party feature

US 'empire' in crisis

Socialist Party campaigns

Community protests at trigger-happy policing

Arise...Sir tax-avoider!

Labour defeated over schools and pool...

Battle of the Thatcherites!

Football: A high price for the beautiful game

Socialist Party review

1926 General Strike: workers taste power

Secuestro Express

Socialist Party LGBT

Putting the politics into Pride

International socialist news and analysis

Socialists oppose the war in Sri Lanka

Soweto uprising 1976: The powder keg ignites

Socialist Party workplace news

Brown attacks public sector workers

Anger at inept handling of pensions dispute


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