Tories have nothing in common with blue collar workers

Charlie Taylor, GMB member

As a ‘blue collar factory worker’ I won’t be fooled by David Cameron’s mantra that his new cabinet stands as the “real party for working people”.

The truth is that his cabinet will continue to try to drive a wedge between those in work and those on benefits in order to implement another £30 billion public sector cuts and £12 billion in welfare cuts.

The fact that the Tories can even attempt to claim this mantle shows the extend to which the Labour Party has abandoned its origins.

Cameron said “we are on the side of hardworking taxpayers and want to give everyone the chance to get on, with the dignity of a job, the pride of a paycheque and a home of their own”.

Those paycheques have fallen – workers are now earning an average of £2,500 less than in 2010. Half the jobs in Britain pay below the living wage. In 2014 workers contributed £32 billion in unpaid overtime to the economy – this is the reality of life under the Tories.

Whether you are in work or not, living standards are being destroyed. Tory work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith is expected to push the annual household benefit cap down from £26,000 to £23,000, increase the bedroom tax, trim maternity pay and remove financial support for all but the poorest carers.

As a result, he will undoubtedly increase the reliance on food banks. The largest food bank provider – the Trussell Trust – recently reported that over one million people needed emergency food last year. They said: “Many of those were working poor, while half accepted food as a result of welfare system failure.”

‘Blue collar’ is the term used to describe workers who do manual labour – under Thatcher the de-industrialisation of Britain began with the destruction of whole industries that employed millions of blue collar workers.

Now our welfare state, including the NHS, faces similar destruction. Cameron’s party of the rich has nothing in common with blue collar workers. We can’t allow the Tories to divide us. A determined struggle led by the trade unions can stop them in their tracks.