Yes, it most definitely is a new “Winter of Discontent”! And it’s felt right across every section of the working class. For obvious reasons: the rise in the cost of living amounts to at least double the inflation rate - which is already around 15%!
So, will there be a general strike? Or more to the point, why isn’t there one? Firefighters, ambulance paramedics, nurses, postal and post office workers, railway workers, bus and train drivers, cleaners, security staff, civil servants and university and college staff already have a “legal” mandate to strike. And teachers and junior doctors will get one very soon...
Yet union leaders not only seem incapable of organising a coordinated strike, but are ensuring that any fraternisation between strikers remains token. Like at the odd rally, usually organised by far-left groups.
It’s worth noting - since nobody finds this outrageous any more - that secondary or sympathy strikes, e.g., strikes “for” nurses or other health/social care workers, by other workers, were not even considered. Sure, they were banned by Thatcher’s Tory government in 1990. Yet if ever there was a law worth breaking, it’s this law against “sympathy”!
For now, union leaders still hope to be invited into polite negotiations, despite the bosses’ refusal to budge on pay rises unless “reforms” - that is, lethal job cuts and cuts in pensions and conditions - are agreed. And, what is more, despite the attacks against union activists during strikes and during the intervals between strikes!
Of course, not many among the ranks of active workers have illusions in the capacity of union leaders to organise a militant battle which can win for all workers, outright. To imagine that, one would have to be born yesterday! As for RMT leader Mick Lynch, by his own admission, he’s no revolutionary.
However, right now it’s not revolutionaries who’re needed - although revolution, for sure, needs to be the ultimate aim if the profit system is to be ended for good. No, all that would be needed is to use maximum collective force to push back until the bosses - who’re making loads of money in this crisis - give in. But the initiative for this will not come from the union HQs; it will need to come from the picket-lines. And the sooner the better.
If the bosses and their government are faced with the determination of over a million workers, it’s a foregone conclusion that this utterly degenerate bunch of money-grubbers will collapse. So bring it on!