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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2020

Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze

Adam Harmsworth, Napo national executive committee (personal capacity) and Socialist Party member
photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

At my first meeting on the national executive committee (NEC) of probation union Napo, I put forward an emergency motion to launch a campaign against the pay freeze (see socialistparty.org.uk). It called for:

It is absolutely crucial that public sector trade unions take bold action to fight the government over this clear and blatant attack.

In my speech supporting the motion, I made absolutely clear that we can have no illusions in the Tories backing down only from reasoning or pleas by the unions.

When Napo told the Tories privatising probation would be a disaster, they did not listen. Right now, the teaching unions warn that keeping schools open is a health risk, but the Tories are still not listening.

I am delighted to say there was no opposition. General Secretary Ian Lawrence spoke in favour, and it was passed unanimously.

Will we win support?

One NEC member commented that there may not be large support for this campaign in wider society. I disagree.

Certainly, if this fightback gains momentum, the capitalist press will run an immense smear campaign against the trade unions, as they have already done against the 'militant' teaching unions.

But we have seen an outpouring of applause for health workers, showing plenty of ordinary people value those on the front line.

Let's remember, the vast majority of the public are underpaid, undervalued, exploited workers themselves.

As long as the unions clearly campaign for the money generated by the working class to be used for the benefit of our class, and not siphoned off to the rich, we will win over lots of different workers.

This motion was the easy part. Now this union, Unison, and the other public sector unions, must build a campaign of protests and win support for strike action.

Socialist Party members in public sector union Unison helped win backing for a similar motion to defeat the pay freeze at the union's local government service group executive.

To beat the pay freeze requires a membership that is active, organised, high in morale, and able and willing to fight. The responsibility for building that lies with the trade union leadership.

Failing these essential tasks will mean a serious challenge will not emerge, and the capitalist class, through this government, will roll over the trade unions once again.

If Napo, the Trades Union Congress, and all public sector unions can rally and organise their membership around breaking the pay freeze, they will win.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 2 December 2020:


What we think

Spending Review. Unions must resist return to austerity


Spending Review

What will the spending review mean for me?

Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze


News

Better for billionaires. Worse for workers

Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid

News in brief


Devolution

Where is devolution heading?


Workplace News

Don't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

East London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

Heathrow workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Hackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

Pay freeze protest Homerton Hospital

Unison general secretary ballot closes


Environment

'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash


International News

Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality


Marxism

Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England


Campaigns

Socialism 2020 feedback

Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge

Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls

Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

Selling the Socialist

Fighting fund target smashed!


Reader's opinion

TV: The Social Dilemma

Fast fashion, big profits, low pay

Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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triangleNapo AGM 2020: Celebrating probation victory and preparing for challenges ahead

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Probation:

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