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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 March 2010

BA workers, civil servants: Defending jobs and conditions

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

The sickening bonanza for the rich goes on; last week the Forbes 'rich list' showed that the number of billionaires on the planet has increased significantly over the last year, and they have seen their incomes soar.

Here in Britain, the Audit Commission has released the results of a study on the severance packages of council chief executives. In a 33 month period, 37 individuals received 9.5 million.

It is from this wealthy layer and their representatives in the main political parties that venom and condemnation is unleashed on civil servants and British Airways cabin crew - workers who have been forced to vote for strike action to stop a relentless driving down of their terms and conditions.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis declared that a strike of BA cabin crew would be "totally unjustified" - this from a man who was not even elected to parliament, about a strike that was democratically decided by an overwhelming majority of the cabin crew.

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

New Labour leader Gordon Brown joined the baying mob, by calling the BA strike "deplorable". Yet the BA workers' trade union, Unite, is the largest donor to New Labour, giving 11 million of its members' money to the party over the last four years alone. So Brown urges on the imposed 'race to the bottom' for working class people's living standards, while raking in their union subs to fund further vicious attacks.

Members of the PCS union are mainly in the public sector, British Airways cabin crew are in the private sector, but in both cases they have been forced to fight simply to defend previously agreed contracts and conditions - an aim that is a million miles away from the greed of the fat cats who are behind the denigrations of their struggles.

An enormous class chasm separates the interests of the workers being forced into action and those who are leading the attacks on them. But the potential strength of all the working and middle class people under attack, or threatened with attacks, is enormous.

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS demonstration through central London during two day strike, photo Paul Mattsson

Not just hundreds, or thousands, but millions of other workers will be able to identify with the plight of those taking strike action now, and would be willing to give support if the trade union movement mobilises it.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 17 March 2010:

BA workers, civil servants: Defending jobs and conditions


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Support British Airways cabin crew

PCS Budget Day action

'Winners' and losers in Royal Mail deal

Workplace news in brief


The state

State infiltration - a warning to the workers' movement


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs day of action


Unison witchhunt

Unison leadership's "scorched earth policy"


Socialist Party news and analysis

Coventry: Voters need socialist fighters - not service cutters

Free the Tamil refugees

Tube Lines: Another fine mess

News in brief


Socialist Students

Defend higher education

Defending public education in the USA


International socialist news and analysis

Another general strike brings Greece to a halt


Socialist Party inteview

Iceland: 93% reject bankers' bailout


Marxist analysis: history

Thatcher's enemy within: 25 years after the end of the miners' strike


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition


Workplace news and analysis

Surrey workers fight cuts

Fighting the cuts at Leeds University

Unite to save Northcott Theatre


Socialist Party feature

Cuts mean poorest people priced out of the legal system


 

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