FAST, DEEP, HARSH. That's what the Tory cuts are. That's what the union fightback must be

Submitted by martin on 20 October, 2010 - 5:26 Author: Editorial
Cuts

This Tory/ Lib-Dem government of millionaires, ruling in the interests of billionaires and plundering bankers, has now launched the biggest attack for eight decades on the working-class people of Britain.

Not since 1931 has anything like it been known.

The Government has no authority to do what it is doing. The voters in the May general election refused to give the Tories the majority to do what they planned.

A big majority voted against what the Tories are doing - voted Labour, or Lib Dem, or for other parties which denounced the cuts the Tories said they would inflict on working-class people and are now inflicting.

The Tories have a parliamentary majority to do what they are doing only because the Lib Dems ratted on the electorate. Campaigning for election against quick and deep cuts, they double-crossed those who voted for them.

This Government has no democratic mandate to do what it is doing. It is blatantly defying the will of the electorate, expressed as recently as in the May general election. The labour movement has a democratic mandate to resist what the Government is doing by any means necessary.

What does the Government now say it will do?

It is acting to throw at least one million workers out of a job! Under the Comprehensive Spending Review announced on 20 October, the Government is set to slash half a million jobs in public services. Knock-on effects will kill as many jobs again in private businesses dependent on public contracts.

It is cutting back social housing, which is already grossly inadequate. Government money for social housing will be cut to less than half its present level.

The universities' teaching budget will be cut 75%, the shortfall to be made up by higher tuition fees.

Housing benefit and a range of other welfare benefits will be cut. The big cuts in benefits for the disabled, already started under the Labour government, will be pushed ahead and increased.

Public sector workers are having their wages cut. They will have to pay much more in contributions to their pensions, which effectively is a big pay cut. Their pay rates will be frozen.

Under the Tories' plans, profits, bonuses, and top salaries will continue to rise. In fact, that is part of their argument for their policy: that quick cuts will help private business thrive. Decoded, that means: quick cuts will help profits, bonuses, and top salaries boom.

The cuts are a choice, and a choice driven by the desire of the Tory and Lib-Dem leaders to come out of this capitalist crisis with public services, the unions (now mainly based in the public sector), and workers' sense of social entitlement all forced down to a much lower level. "Never waste a crisis", is their motto.

A survey in the Financial Times on 19 October found that 90% of company bosses in Britain expect "a lot more industrial action" in the months ahead, and 75% of them backed the call by the bosses' federation, the CBI, to screw anti-union laws even tighter.

That is the general content of the Spending Review, and what lurks behind it. The rest is packaging and camouflage.

The Tories know that millions will be angry, and especially the cheated Lib-Dem voters. Anxious to help the Lib-Dem leaders, the Tories have done their best to "package" the cuts.

The Government started by talking about impossible cuts in Government department budgets - of the order of 40% - so that it could later smooth over the figures and say that those cuts will be "only" 19%.

The Trident replacement will be postponed, and military spending cut.

Budgets for schools and hospitals will suffer, but not as badly as other budgets. The Government wants the impact of the cuts to be felt less in big "collective" blows, like schools and hospitals being closed as they were under Thatcher, and more in tens of millions of individual blows.

If it's a matter of millions losing jobs, losing benefits, having wages cut in real terms, paying more rent or having to beg for a friend's sofa or floor, paying extra university fees or not going to university, then - so the Government hopes - those millions will focus on "getting by" individually, rather than on collective resistance.

The labour movement began to enable working-class people to respond collectively when, as scattered individuals, we are helpless in a market-driven society. Now the labour movement must organise collective action - forge a political army out of the victims of this vicious class-war government.

The cuts are an outrage! The deficit does not have to be cut now. When it is cut, it can be cut by taxing the rich, not by penalising the poor.

It is times like this that the labour movement should live for: when individual "getting by" becomes catastrophically inadequate. In such a time the trade unions can grow, despite the loss of jobs.

• Learn from France! The French workers are showing us that solidarity can beat cuts.

• Make the labour movement fight! Demand that the whole labour movement refuse to cooperate with the coalition government.

• Demand the unions start the fight back now! With the excuse of not rushing things, the TUC limited its protest around the Comprehensive Spending Review to a token lobby of Parliament the day before.

Yes, we're not ready to stage a general strike tomorrow. But that does not mean that unions should sit on their hands until some hypothetical future time when everyone is "ready". Government offices are already being closed down. Local authorities are already issuing mass redundancy-warning notices. The unions should help their members fight back, and help link the battles.

• Demand that Labour councils defy the Tory/ Lib-Dem cuts, and mobilise local unions and working-class communities to demand the restoration of money for local services taken away by central government.

• Demand the Labour Party leaders support the resistance. Ed Miliband had promised that he would join the TUC protest on 19 October. He wasn't there. Nor was any other Labour leader.

TUC leaders explained that they "hadn't been invited", presumably in order to placate the Tory press which ludicrously calls Miliband "Red Ed" and "a puppet of the unions". Nothing can be won by running in fear from the Tory press. Run from mad dogs, and, encouraged, they will chase you!

Demand that Labour commit itself to repeal the anti-union laws, and to restore cuts made by the Tories, when we get this coalition government out. Argue for the perspective of a workers' government, democratically accountable to the labour movement and implementing a workers' plan for the crisis.

• Set up democratic anti-cuts committees everywhere, with delegates from trade unions, community groups, student groups, and local Labour Parties. Get them out on the streets and the doorsteps, building a movement that will push the union leaders into action.

Comments

Submitted by Tim on Fri, 22/10/2010 - 11:39

Teacher Liam Conway from the NUT caught the mood of angry protestors by saying the way to fight the cuts is the French way if you want to get involved go to www.nottssos.org.uk below a local paper report.

Tim Cooper Friday, October 22, 2010, 09:0032
Hundreds protest over county council cuts plans

Protest: Demonstrators gather outside County Hall to show their anger against the proposed slashing of council services and resulting redundancies.

ABOUT 400 protestors gathered outside County Hall to show their anger about proposed cuts to Notts County Council's staff and services.

Demonstrators held union banners and chanted for the resignation of county council leader, Kay Cutts.

Union leaders told the crowd that if the council leader did not believe in public services, she should stand down.

Unison branch secretary Martin Sleath said: "We are fighting for public services and giving the message to this Tory council that we will not put up with a single job cut and privatisation."

Lisa Jones, chairman of the Notts Disabled Peoples' Movement, told the crowd she was "incensed" by the cuts.

A number of the proposed council cuts affected groups supporting disabled and vulnerable residents.

Mrs Jones said: "We cannot, and will not, stand by and allow this council to use the cuts as an excuse to condemn us to second class citizenship."

Protestors held up signs with slogans such as 'Say no to Cutts', while two dressed as the grim reaper.

Maria Kalinowska, 43, from Arnold, was at the protest representing Parents SOS, a group fighting to protect services for disabled children.

Around half a dozen police officers were also present managing the crowd

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