The TUC has responded to the economic crisis by demanding, “action to stop unemployment growing further still… Unions are looking for action to boost demand; we urge the Bank to cut interest rates and the Government to take the cap off public sector wage increases.”
As a programme to deal with the problems workers face this is pitifully inadequate. Workers do not just need “action to stop unemployment growing further”, but full employment. This is an immediate pressing concern for millions of workers.
We need a leadership in the labour movement which puts forward a coherent case for jobs — from our class standpoint — and fights for full employment aggressively, with conviction.
Of course the question arises, how can full employment be guaranteed? We say that the state must guarantee all workers a useful, well-paid job. How can such a policy be paid for? By taxing the rich.
Bank of England action to cut interest rates might benefit some workers facing repossession of their homes or astronomical credit card bills, but will do nothing to address the underlying problem: financial institutions chasing profits, without concern for the human consequences of their activities.
In order to prevent financial crises rooted in the drive for profit, guarantee pensions and provide a basis for rational planning of the economy in the interest of the working class majority, we advocate the nationalisation of the banks and financial sector.
The TUC are right that the cap should be taken off public sector wage increases. But this, by itself will not guarantee wages will not be cut by under-inflation wage rises.
In public and private sectors we need powerful, militant union organisations willing to organise campaigns to defend and improve workers’ living standards. One key demand is for the abolition of the anti-union laws that stifle union strike activity. Another is to guarantee workers, in law, wage increases which automatically compensate for inflation.
We need a government based on our own class and fighting for our class interests. We need a Workers’ Government.
To read more about the case for an Emergency Workers’ Plan, click here.