We cannot and will not pay the cost of the pandemic!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
15 September 2021

Last Tuesday the Health and Social Care Levy, which will increase National Insurance Contributions by 1.25% for 2022-3, was voted though parliament. Johnson was assured a majority, even if some of his backbenchers, who represent poorer working class constituencies and who fear for their own seats, withheld their votes.

   Upper class millionaire Chancellor Sunak claims that higher NICs, cutting state pensions and a de facto cut in Universal Credit, are all needed to fund the huge deficit in NHS and social care funding - not to mention the record total "Covid" overspend of £400bn. Yes, the working class must pay while the billions in capital gains and unpaid corporation taxes by offshored companies are sacrosanct!

    As for fixing the broken, privatised social care system, that's another question. The "plan" which Johnson promised has yet to see the light of day, but it's likely to do no more than offer new opportunities for capitalist parasitism.

    So from next April, everyone on more than £9,500/yr will get a 1.25% pay cut. Including NHS workers who're still fighting the pandemic and social care "heroes" on £8.91/hr - which this government cynically calls the “national living wage”!

    On top, will be the knock-on effect of the NIC rise, since the bosses who're also meant to pay it, will take this money back out of workers’ pay, refuse wage rises, cut jobs, etc., in addition to cuts they're already making under the pretext of the “end of furlough”.

    All this means that the working class will face even worse conditions over the coming months, unless there is a fight back which can stop the bosses in their tracks. There are already small strikes breaking out in some industries over pay - and NHS workers are (still) threatening a strike ballot over their below-inflation offer. But the bosses rely on the artificial divisions they have inserted into our ranks - between skilled and unskilled, temp and permanent, and core worker and subcontractor, let alone between public and private sectors. They rely on the way the union leaderships have played the sectional game, isolating one division from another. So that is the first obstacle we will have to overcome - uniting our ranks into one fighting force. But if we can do that, then the only real weapon we have - the strike - can be effectively used to beat the bosses back.