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From: The Socialist issue 1100, 9 September 2020: 15% now - unions must fight for NHS pay rise

Search site for keywords: National Shop Stewards Network - Workers - Pay - NSSN - Covid - TUC - Dave Ward

NSSN rally: Workers must not pay the price of Covid

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) is holding its annual rally on the eve of TUC congress. This year, because of Covid, the rally will be held via Zoom and shared live on Facebook. Leaders of national unions will be speaking, and there will also be an open mic, giving a platform to workers and reps in disputes and on the frontline.
NSSN lobby of the TUC 2019, photo Mary Finch, photo Mary Finch

NSSN lobby of the TUC 2019, photo Mary Finch, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

NSSN chair Rob Williams told the Socialist:

"TUC congress has never been more important. Workers are fighting for our lives and livelihoods. We need workers' control over workplaces to make sure that they are safe. And increasingly, we are fighting to stop the hurricane of redundancies and confront the bosses who use the threat of job losses to try and smash our pay, terms and conditions, and pensions.

Now there is talk that the Tories are looking to freeze the national living wage, which is already too low and has unacceptable age restrictions.

More than ever, the TUC needs to be a council of war, where the class lines are drawn - workers won't pay the price for this crisis. We must send a clear message of defiance to the employers and their Tory government, which in turn will give confidence to workers that the unions will fight. We've already seen that workers join unions when the need to be organised is clear and a fighting lead is given.

The NSSN is calling on the TUC congress to organise a day of demonstrations and protests in every town and city on Saturday 24 October to demand the furlough scheme - scheduled to end a week later - is continued and upgraded: we say 'work or full pay!'

The mood to fight is increasing as Covid strips bare the class inequalities in society.

We've already seen the incredible Black Lives Matter movement fill the streets. On 12 September there will be more protests to demand a 15% pay rise for workers in the NHS and care sectors, and we call on our supporters to join them.

Just weeks ago, thousands of students forced the Tories to U-turn over A-level results - one of 13 retreats by Johnson's government!

What could 6 million workers, organised in the trade unions achieve if there was a fighting programme? Help us send that message by joining our rally."

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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.
  • 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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