The Socialist 29 August 2012
Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!
Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike
Time to rise up!
Committee member of 'Shafted by AEI'
Britain's self-appointed 'elite' has declared war on the ordinary people of this country. From self-serving politicians seeking office for their own gain, to greedy bankers wrecking homes, jobs and lives in pursuit of the almighty pound, to smug media bosses flouting the law and casting aside every shred of decency in order to swell their own coffers. We are being lied to, ripped off and viewed with utter contempt by these people who have come to believe that this is their nation, to be run for their benefit. You and me are mere beasts of burden to be worked to death then cast aside.
I did not always think like this. I was in steady employment with the same company for over 30 years until that company chose to invoke a little-known piece of legislation called a Company Voluntary Arrangement in order to sack half the workforce without notice, consultation, appeal or payment.
125 of us, most with decades of loyal service, were cast on the scrapheap. We were replaced by recruits on short-term contracts, lower wages and poorer conditions.
This government condones every attack on working people while itself continuing to wantonly hack at every aspect of the lives of 'ordinary' people. No sane person sits idly by while everything he or she holds dear is torn apart by the enemy. The time has come to rise up.
Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike. Support every action against these brutal cuts and show our attackers that we will take no more!
United we stand, divided we fall
The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) is calling a lobby of the TUC conference on 9 September, to advocate the need for a 24-hour strike for both public and private sector workers.
This initiative is crucial for the building of a labour movement that will be strong enough to fight back against the government's austerity measures. The organisation of such a fight back doesn't only concern the workers in Britain - these measures are more or less "copied and pasted" and implemented by governments all over Europe.
Similar policies like the ones in Britain are being carried out in countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, but also my own country, Cyprus. Even before the implementation of any memorandum by the Troika [the international financial taskmasters: IMF, ECB and EU] workers had enormous attacks on their wages and the right to strike.
I think that the NSSN's initiative is absolutely correct and necessary. If a unity of public and private sector workers is achieved it would be a huge step forward. But it is also crucial to link up all struggles with those of the other workers in Europe. Not only is a 24-hour strike necessary in Britain, but the TUC should also call the whole European trade union movement to join a coordinated day of strike against austerity and cutbacks.
The bosses and governments have joined forces to attack our rights. We too should unite, fight back and write a victorious page in the history of the labour movement in defence of our jobs, wages, pensions and public services.
Why I am going to Brighton
I was doing a gardening job at a finance high-flyer's 'house' a little while ago. Beautiful grounds, outdoor heated swimming pool (never used), expensive cars on the drive. I reckon we are talking in excess of a million pounds to buy it. One of the workers at the house explained that the property was bought with the owner's annual bonus. Not sure what the salary was.
A self-employed gardener can earn around £10,000 - £20,000 a year if they work hard and get the jobs. If I didn't pay tax, buy food, tools and have to live somewhere I could buy that place in less than a century.
Being self-employed wasn't a choice I wanted to make. I'd been to uni and got the debt to prove it. I was applying for jobs.
Getting a job used to be easy. I'd walk down the high street giving out my CVs and before you knew it I'd have a job. Minimum wage, bad hours etc. But a job. That doesn't seem to happen anymore.
So I went self-employed and found my own work - where I could. I'm off the unemployment stats but I don't feel much better off. I can't go on strike but I support workers when they do.
The TUC needs to realise something though; it's not just their members that they are defending. It's the whole of the working class, including those who can't go on strike. The youth, the elderly, the disabled and those like me who have ended up self-employed through lack of work.
I'll be at the lobby of the TUC on 9 September to demand a 24-hour general strike, which I will support and campaign for. It's the only way to make ourselves heard and stop a bleak future.
Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike
Assemble 1pm at The Level park - Union Road, Brighton BN2 for march at 1.30pm to Brighton (conference) Centre for rally
For details of travel arrangements see www.shopstewards.net
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