If we want to stay cool, we have to turn up our militant heat! & What a shower - and not the kind we need, either!

 If we want to stay cool, we have to turn up our militant heat!

Already on Monday, the Mirror headline was “BLOWTORCH BRITAIN”. Then it got worse: Tuesday saw the highest temperature ever recorded!

    And yes, it was predicted and predictable! But were provisions to cope with this put in place by any of the relevant authorities? Absolutely not! Certainly not in factories or on construction sites. And then there were the fires: homes next to tinder-dry fields in Dagenham Ballards Road and Weddington village burnt to a cinder. Nobody, not even the fire service, expected that.

   Just days before the heat was due to peak, Network Rail sent workers out to paint (some!) rail tracks and points with reflective paint. Inter-city trains were cancelled, but already on Monday, delays and electrical failures left railway workers - and of course passengers - stranded.

   However, while trains were cancelled and office workers were told to work from home (or go swimming!) most manual workers - indoors and outside - were expected to carry on working. They were just told by employers to be sure to “stay hydrated”!

   The 30-year old Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which barely changed the old 1961/1974 Factory Acts is the only “law” governing conditions inside workplaces. But it says nothing about an upper heat limit, above which it becomes illegal for bosses to ask workers to work.

   And by the way, extreme heat inside factories is nothing new. And it’s not only linked to hot summer weather. The absence of any actual law protecting workers has been a “burning” issue ever since the 1800s!

   Of course, bosses do the minimum, if they do anything at all. Today, in record heat, they still place the onus on workers to keep themselves cool.

   So workers have, over the years, had to take their own measures! And they have! For instance (long ago!) at Ford Dagenham, the PTA’s Sealer Deck workers, who worked just under the roof, instituted their own regime. It led to a special agreement, signed with Ford bosses, way back in May 1978, in fact, the same year as the historic 9-week Ford strike!

   The agreement stipulated heat reliefs: they got a 10-minute break in every hour if the temperature went above 90F. Iced drinks had to be freely available. For every 2 degrees F hotter, the breaks would increase to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc... Until work ceased!

   Already yesterday, a temperature of 100F (37C) was registered in many workplaces and much higher, where there is heat-generating machinery. Even air-conditioning (rarely present) can fail in these conditions. So no point in waiting for a law change: the only way for workers to ensure they can remain cool, is to generate enough militant heat against the bosses, in order to take over control of their working conditions and enforce their own limits!

 What a shower - and not the kind we need, either!

The 3rd-rate soap opera in the House of Commons continued this week. On Monday Johnson gave his last fond farewell before facing Wednesday’s final PMQs. And very fond it was - as he recalled his wondrous 2½ years play-acting as World King. He didn’t even realise that the confidence vote he was supposed to be speaking against was tabled by his own party!

   The benches behind him were empty, but there was enough of his shrunken fan-club left - including his latest assortment of ministers in the front - to shout and applaud his highly over-waxed lyrics.

   In fact Johnson seems to think that everyone has totally forgotten that 20,000 elderly people were literally wiped out in 2 months in 2020, thanks to his criminal Covid policy (“scientifically advised” by Laurel Whitty and Hardy Vallance, at all times!) which even put Johnson himself into intensive care!

   He imagines that nobody’s noticed that Brexit’s not done, that he’s messed up in Northern Ireland, lost trade, vital supplies and above all, key workers! And screwed 4% off his “world-beating” economy! Not to mention the total NHS collapse, the inhuman relegation of the Afghan people, refugee deportations, or thrusting 25% of (mostly working) people below the breadline...

   The list of his cock-ups is too long to mention. So more’s the pity that he was sacked by his own ministers over “internal” errors of judgement rather than the criminal policies he implemented against the rest of us, during his short “rule”.

   There’s method in ministers’ madness of course. They all went along with these policies. And now some of them are vying for his crown, in order to continue the very same policies, only worse, ensuring that the working class pays for the ever-deepening crisis!

   At the time of writing the remaining 3 candidates are out to prove what “real” Tories they are. Given the antique laws and unwritten British constitution which determine British political life, the new PM will rule, like it or not. But even if there was an election, where is the “political alternative” which stands for the interests of ordinary people - of the workers who produce all the wealth in society?

   The answer is that it doesn’t exist; not yet. It has to be built. And that’s our next - and most urgent - task.