• NotH Team

Mobilise Like Never Before

Mobilise Like Never Before

Unity Leader 4th July 2020 - By Mel Corry

Theresa May (remember her?) back in 2018 announced the end of Austerity, Boris Johnson continued with that mantra and the British government announced in their pre-Covid budget money for investment in infrastructure.

Then came the early signs of crisis in the system and it all came to a head with the onset of coronavirus. It seemed the world would never be the same again.

There are predictable signs that things are returning to normal as people go back to work in greater numbers. If you remember, ‘normal’ wasn’t that great. Health care workers had to go on strike to get pay parity with other NHS workers and they succeeded in embarrassing local politicians here back to work.

Public sector workers were in a long-standing dispute over the pay cap and suspended it during the crisis. We were told we are all in this together. When the virus hit, we started to see all those workers who couldn’t not work being described as ‘essential’ workers. Workers in health care, retail, postal and delivery, food production all given a new found respect for the effort to keep us fed, supplied and alive.

These very same workers carried the greatest risk of exposure to the virus and bore the brunt of the loss of life.

We watched with enthusiasm when workers walked off the job when they had concerns for their own health and safety and became aware of the leverage they could exert through collective strength.

We wondered how long this will last and were we on the cusp of a new dawn for workers and trades unions. Well its back to business with workers expected to foot the bill.

Already people are returning to a new reality, cuts to wages, changes to long standing contractual arrangements, pressure to be more productive. A lot of workers are now working from home and there are signs that whilst this may be advantageous for some it is not good for everyone.

Anyone working in a manufacturing job these days would consider it to be precarious. The aerospace industry is in crisis with redundancies announced at Bombardier, Thompsons aerospace and the many satellite companies that service that sector. People who are furloughed will find themselves unemployed as the scheme is wound down.

At the beginning of March, the government introduced the furlough scheme to prevent the collapse of the economy. They were very emphatic that they couldn’t afford not to take these measures as the alternative would be unthinkable.

The Bank of England told us not to worry as they would provide money to government through direct monetary financing, in other words getting access to money would not be the problem.

It is clear that the mood music has changed and the question being posed to us from the ruling class is, how are we going to pay for this? We can see it coming and we must not allow ourselves to be the crutch for a capitalist system that is destroying our lives and the planet.

We must mobilise like never before, not in a defence of our interests but with demands for better jobs, a just transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewables, a green new deal that goes way beyond anything envisaged by the current conservative leadership of the Green Party.

All of this will need a class-conscious labour movement that is not subservient to Social Democracy which has failed us thus far.

There can be no future for us less than socialism and more democracy.

The online edition of Unity can be viewed here.

To subscribe to the hard copy please email: unitycpireland@gmail.com

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