For higher wages, permanent jobs, fully funded services

Fight for a socialist recovery

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Nick Chaffey, Socialist Party southern regional secretary

The new normal under Boris Johnson and the Tories promises to be anything but ‘new’. Johnson’s talk of a ‘high-wage economy’ will stick in the throats of workers at Weetabix, Clarks and elsewhere.

They are striking back against the bosses’ ‘fire-and-rehire’ offensive – boosting profits by cutting wages. Public sector workers, hit by a decade-long pay freeze, are rejecting the Tories’ insulting pay offers and preparing to fight back.

With increased national insurance payments and benefit cuts already underway, it looks likely that Chancellor Sunak’s Autumn Statement will amount to nothing more than further cutbacks.

Austerity of the last decade came at a brutal cost for many, with a recent survey showing 57,000 excess deaths over the five-year period to 2015.

There must be no repeat of that nightmare. It is urgent for the trade unions to plan a coordinated response in defence of jobs, pay, pensions, benefits and public services. No one must be left to fight alone. ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ must be the rallying call for action to push back the bosses’ offensive.

Recent victories have been won by determined strike action and show the power of the working class to defend itself. The Trades Union Congress has agreed to organise a national demonstration in the spring, now we must apply the pressure to make sure this happens, and is used to strengthen coordinated strike action on pay, and to include the demand for a minimum wage of £15 an hour.

Fears of inflation should be answered with a clear response to make the richest 1% pay out of the vast profits they have amassed.

We say fight: for a socialist recovery to reverse the decade of cuts; raise wages and control rents to eliminate poverty; reduce the working week to 32 hours without loss of pay to share out the work and guarantee jobs for all. Urgent investment in the NHS and education, alongside a mass council house building programme, could easily be paid for by a wealth tax on the top corporations.

But for permanent gains, we have to stop the endless cycle of boom and bust of capitalist crisis and the anarchy of profit-driven production. We need democratic socialist planning to meet the needs of all and the environment. This can be delivered by nationalising the banks and top 150 monopolies under working-class control and management. To achieve that victory, workers need a new mass party of our own with the trade unions playing a central role, as part of the fightback we urgently need.