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What’s wrong with striking for £1 an hour when richest 1,000 double wealth by £20bn?

Rich ListNo-one wants to strike, least of all the strikers who lose wages they can ill afford, but what do you do when public sector workers’ pay has been cut in real terms by 8% in the last 6 years and the employers flatly refuse to offer a very modest pay rise to at least try to keep up with inflation? Why should public sector workers bear the brunt of the crash they did not cause and continue to bear it till 2018 when the ultra-rich, who caused the crash in the first place, get off scot-free?

Why doesn’t Cameron answer these questions instead of denouncing strikes on all occasions, regardless of the circumstances or who bears the responsibility for provoking them? The truth is that the government itself has provoked this strike by cutting the funding of public sector employers by 40%, thus making it almost impossible for the latter to pay up, but then rounding on the workers who they knew were bound to rebel and then threatening to bring in rules which would all but make all strikes illegal.

But there is an even more fundamental question here. If, as Osborne keeps telling us, we have a strong recovery and 3% growth this year, why does he need to keep suppressing wages at all? If 3% growth really is achieved in 2014-5, that increases GDP/national income by about £45bn, of which government takes about 40% or £18bn., thus cutting the budget deficit to around £90bn. The big question then for government is whether this growth, such as it is, is really sustainable when all the sources of demand have dried up. Productivity is at an abysmal level, business investment is still 20% below pre-crash levels (i.e. there is an investment strike – when are we going to hear from Cameron about that?), and our net export demand is in the red by over £100bn a year. The one area which would stimulate much-needed demand is a wage increase, but the government for ideological reasons if funking that.

So Cameron is threatening to require that a ballot for a strike must win the backing of, not a majority of those voting, but a majority of those entitled to vote. As Unite have forcefully pointed out, if that rule were applied to parliamentary elections, not one member of the cabinet, including Cameron himself, met that hurdle. Once again, one rule for the bosses and a totally different one for everyone else. Nor does public opinion in this matter support Cameron’s intransigence. Nearly twice as many support the right to strike over this issue as support Cameron’s position. It is right that the trade unions should take a stand here and call a halt to this endless victimisation of the working class for the greed and arrogance of Cameron’s class.

 

One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    When in living history or written history has the working class or the poor not paid for mass down turns or recessions .

    It will always be the poorest the sick the disabled and the working poor.

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