“All out” together, on 1 February! & Teaching Sunak and his government a lesson!

 “All out” together, on 1 February!

The government and their ranting fellow “class warriors” in the media are at it again, spitting their fury against strikers.

    These hypocrites claim that pupils are in danger of being deprived of education because of the threatened strikes; or that patients will die because of a few 1-day strikes by nurses or ambulance workers.  They just can’t help themselves: they’re unable to disguise their deep class hatred for workers and poor people.  Or their blind ignorance of the world the rest of us live in.

    Neither do they take any responsibility for the situation they’ve created!  The crisis in the NHS is not a sudden collapse.  It’s been a slowly evolving catastrophe, totally predictable and one which health workers have been warning of for many, many, years.  The crisis in schools has the exact same history!

    But now, with new data from the Office for National Statistics, the idea that wages have “risen” and that inflation is falling (despite the persistent huge gap) is going to be held up as yet another reason to refuse to yield to the demands of striking workers.

    In passing, it’s worth noting that yes, private sector wages, in some cases, rose.  Certain private bosses, for instance in the car industry (BMW Oxford, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, etc...) had already agreed to give “inflation plus” pay rises for the 2nd year of 2-year pay-deals, so they stuck to their agreements and paid up (even up to 16%!), fearful that their workforces might strike!  Unlike the government and its groupies, they know how to avoid industrial action and anyway, these pay rises were already factored-in to their balance sheets.

    Today, in the case of the public sector, it is the whole of the country’s “public” who are de facto, the workers’ paymasters.  Yes, otherwise known as “taxpayers”!  And if the public had a say, it would surely offer all the key workers currently trying to fight for their livelihoods, the inflation-proof pay rises they need!

    What’s more it would demand that the government stop the rot it’s causing to these services immediately - and, for example, reverse the planned cuts in the railways. As one rail worker put it, “they could pay me another 50% - I don’t care, but I’m on strike to fight the closure of ticket offices, the refusal to put guards back on trains and the unsafe cuts in conditions for every category of maintenance worker!

    The public, if it was in charge, would find a solution to the 165,000+133,000 vacancies in the NHS and social care, by offering a generous “welcome-back” to all those who left the country due to Brexit - an estimated 330,000 - as well as a welcome to the migrant workers and refugees who risk their lives in “small boats” to reach these currently unwelcoming shores!

    In fact two things are needed to solve the public sector crisis: sure, an overturning of this government, that should go without saying.  But what’s also needed is for the current fight for livelihoods to be turned into the “class war” which the bosses and politicians, unlike the union leaders, already recognise it is...

    If that’s to happen, strikers will have to start taking their own initiative and above all, bring all sections and unions to fight together as one force!


 Teaching Sunak and his government a lesson!

In the end, teachers voted overwhelmingly - by 90% - to strike, despite the doubts of their own union officials!  And turnout, at 53%, easily beat the legal threshold, despite ballot papers getting lost due to the postal strike!

    The good news is that the first strike day is called for 1 February, the same day that 100,000 civil service workers - and now also train drivers - will be on strike.  And this is the same day too, that the TUC has called a "day of action" against the government's latest anti-strike law.  Maybe the TUC has finally found its teeth...

    However the current anti-strike laws, which set legal thresholds, have prevented the most low-paid of all teaching staff, the teachers' assistants, from joining the strike.  These TAs make up as much as 28% of school workforce today and are used and abused as (very much cheaper) substitutes for teachers.  Their conditions are so bad that at the beginning of the school year there were 40,000 TA vacancies!

    In fact the teachers themselves aren't only fighting over wages - although the 5% offer comes on the back of falling pay; in real terms they've lost 23% (by RPI) since 2010.  Today schools are expected to find this 5% "pay rise" from their existing budgets.  This means that to pay teachers, schools have to take money from elsewhere, by cutting jobs, cutting building maintenance, and cutting equipment expenditure.  Already they've been cutting the courses they offer to pupils.  They received no increase in funding between 2015 and 2020, and since then only 5% - far behind inflation.  Already 1 in 5 school buildings are in urgent need of repair, with the risk of collapse rated "critical"!

    Sunak, who has cancelled his deluxe trip to Davos this year, must definitely feel a little rattled at this point of the strike wave: the polls show that 51% of the public support the teachers' strikes, but only 21% support his government.