Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/449/5367
Gordon Brown steps up attacks on the public sector
Gordon Brown announced last week that he was going to step up the attacks on public-sector workers, no matter who runs the Labour government.
Brown implied, according to the Guardian (14 July) that the days of plenty for public-sector workers were over.
Opening up his assault on two fronts, he announced that a pay freeze on public-sector workers' pay would continue until 2011 and that any pay increase would be restricted to no more than 2%. This actually amounts to a pay cut for the six million workers in the public sector, as inflation is already above that figure and is forecast to go even higher.
His other attack was on jobs. He boasted that 45,000 civil service jobs had already gone in "less than two years", as part of the 84,000 jobs that were targeted by Sir Peter Gershon in 2004. He then said that once they had gone there would be more cuts after that.
Brown obviously thinks that it is popular to attack public-sector workers, especially civil servants, "and put more resources into the front line caring services". The reality is that the jobs that are going or have already gone have caused a huge crisis in departments like the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
As a result of staff cuts, millions of phone calls go unanswered and some of the most vulnerable sections of society, those who depend on state benefits, are being abandoned and thrown to the wolves.
Gordon Brown, like all the other New Labour neo-liberals, thinks that you shouldn't depend on the state and if you do then you are part of the "undeserving poor" that are not worthy of any sympathy. The only thing that stands against this brutal and cold-blooded attitude at this stage is the public-sector trade unions.
"PCS members have never had "plentiful days" - more than a third of our members earn less than £16,000 per year and have an end of service pension of less than £4,000 per year. PCS members are completely committed to delivering essential services that the poorest and most vulnerable in our society rely on.
Our members and the services they provide are currently buckling under the pressure of excessive cuts in jobs and services. This Labour government should be supporting those jobs and services, not decimating them in their attempts to line the pockets of big business and private enterprise rather than the welfare state. PCS will do everything in its power to stop the government in its tracks."
Marian Lloyd, PCS NEC member from Yorkshire
"If the days of plenty ever existed then they have passed me and my workmates by. We do a service for the community despite politicians and managers. There is a lot of good will given by us to do this job but we are getting fed up with how we are treated by the bosses. There is a lot of anger and the workplaces are like a tinderbox waiting to go off".
Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest library worker and UNISON member
"When have we ever had days of plenty? For the last five years we have had pay increases pegged to the level of inflation and now he wants to pay us even less. MPs have awarded themselves pensions of £28,000 per year, whilst we are having our pensions rights cut to the bone."
Glenn Kelly, unison branch secretary and NEC member
In The Socialist 20 July 2006:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Scottish Socialist Party
Campaign for a New Workers Party