As the crisis deepens, the fight back must widen! All out!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
28 September 2022

In the middle of the worst cost-of-living crisis since the 1970s, with the whole world tipping into economic recession, not only has the government just splurged the public's tax money on the most expensive funeral ever seen in history, but Chancellor Kwarteng managed to send the pound crashing to an all-time low!

    It fell to near-parity with the dollar - to $1.03 on Monday.  This has never happened before: even at the time of the 2008 banking collapse, £1 could buy $2!

    And it has no cause other than the currency market's "spooked reaction" to the Truss government's mini-budget.  Kwarteng had been warned.  But he decided to play with his new Treasury tax-cut toy, regardless.

    So income tax goes down and corporation tax stays a record low.  He revoked the 45% rate for the superrich and cancelled the 1.25% increase in National Insurance Contributions.  This might save workers a few hundred quid, but it's a significant tax cut for the bosses, since they'll no longer have to match workers' contributions.  As for the "help" for energy bills, it will now come from borrowing, at ever-rising interest rates, which this mini-budget has helped to stoke!

    Anyway, it's bye-bye to the already inadequate £13bn extra for the NHS and Social Care, which the NIC rise was meant to fund.  If money is to be found for health and the elderly (and that's a big "if"), it would also have to come from government borrowing...

    Of course, interest rate rises make mortgages, credit cards (which so many rely on) and all other loans, less and less affordable...  Yes, while having a dubious effect on inflation, since it's the bosses' deliberate price increases to preserve and increase profit margins that cause it, and certainly not wage rises which workers now need more than ever!

    Kwarteng's brilliance has rendered all imports even more expensive; as the pundits tell us, "oil is paid for in dollars"!  Then there's the 46% of food which is imported, drugs, clothes, parts for manufacture, etc., which will all cost more.

    Yes, the capitalist economy is showing itself in all its "vicious-circle" glory!  Aided and abetted by the Truss lunatics who've just taken over from the Buffoon in the Westminster asylum!

Starmer's patriotic scoundrels

So what next?  Well, posing as the answer to all of these problems is the Labour Party in conference, singing "God save the King" with gusto under the Union Jack!  They unashamedly present themselves as the new fiscal conservatives!  And very conveniently, an opinion poll just appeared showing that 45% of respondents approve of them against just 33% for the Tories.

    You'd think they were running for election right now - or even that they'd already won, given their triumphalism!  But the Truss Tories have 2 years to go, unless they are chucked out.  And Labour MPs haven't got the gumption to give them the boot.  They don't even dare to join workers on the picket lines today!

    Yet the working class is in dire straits right now.  Can workers wait two years?  And for what? "Blue" Labour?  In fact the strikers are not waiting!

    Because not only do the bosses refuse wage rises today, offering real pay cuts, but using the excuse of a worsening recession, they are planning to make workers pay for this too!

We need political strikes!

To give just one example: BMW, one of the richest car companies in the world, has just announced to its Oxford Mini workforce that they are cutting a production shift because "external factors have created a volatile and challenging environment for our business.  (...) we have to change shift patterns"...  Have to?  Of course they don't!

    Its bad enough that they've got away, for over a decade, with using temporary workers to build their cars.  But now up to 500 of these temps from Staffline are meant to lose their jobs; and the rest of the workers are meant to lose £28 minimum in pay a week!  Yes, it's either unemployment or a pay cut, depending on your status, when workers can afford neither!

    Yet companies have mountains of cash stored away and so do their shareholders, plus they have access to borrowing that no ordinary worker has.  In fact they can easily find the money to pay all workers an increase!

    That's why right now, from the Liverpool docks, to the railways, the postal service and refuse collection, workers are on strike to demand decent pay.  Car workers have every reason to join them.  It is time, not just to get pay rising in proportion to price rises, but to get rid of the divisions forced into our ranks between temps and permanents and 1", 2nd and 3' tiers!

    Beating the bosses will need action which is co¬ordinated and generalised - for sure.  But it cannot stop there, because the attacks will most likely keep coming.  The working class needs to be organised and ready for this; building its own political organisation which spans all the different trades and sections - something that the rival union machineries cannot and will not do: this is the task of workers themselves!  And it must be done!