Bankers protest by Walthamstow Socialist Party, credit: The Socialist
Bankers protest by Walthamstow Socialist Party, credit: The Socialist

Lindsey Morgan, Bristol South Socialist Party

It’s a really happy Halloween for bankers this year after the cap on bonuses was lifted by the ghouls in government. Announced in Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous 2022 ‘mini-budget’, Rishi Sunak has kept this little treat for his banker friends.

After the 2008 financial crash, the cap was introduced in part due to mass anger with the banking system and supposedly to prevent risky gambling with our money. The cap claimed to help stamp out prioritising short-term profits. But capitalism as a system will always prioritise short-term greed over the long-term needs of the working-class majority.

The cap meant financial dire straits for the bankers, with bonuses restricted to just double their annual salary! And even then, for well-paid bankers, there was room for negotiation.

What about us?

While not all bankers are obscenely rich (just most of them), removing the cap is a massive kick in the teeth for the majority of us. We’ve been told that we shouldn’t fight for pay rises and to accept cuts to all services. We’re supposed to put up with extortionate food and energy bills and every form of financial deprivation imaginable in the name of ‘fiscal responsibility’. This is preached to us by a billionaire prime minister, the Tories, and the supine Labour Party ‘opposition’.

Trade unions have been right to condemn the announcement; general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Paul Nowak described it as an “obscene decision”.

He’s right but we need more than just talk. With over six million workers in trade unions in this country represented by the TUC, much more could be done to harness that power than scathing critique. A ‘wait and see what Labour does’ approach does not help working-class people hurting from austerity now.

Trade unionists, anti-austerity and community campaigners should stand in the upcoming elections and take the fight to the bosses under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner! This would be an important step to build a mass working-class alternative to the bosses’ parties.

Such a force, armed with a socialist programme, would nationalise the top 150 companies including the banking sector and make sure that a decent quality of life isn’t just a bonus for some but a way of life for all of us.

We’ve had enough of having tricks from them and them having their treats taken from us!