They stoke crisis and war - and expect the working class to pay for it & P&O bosses hide behind a system the government defends

 They stoke crisis and war - and expect the working class to pay for it

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was careful to remind everyone about the war in Ukraine when he presented his Spring Statement on Wednesday.

    But the rising cost of living, which he claims to be addressing, isn't due to this war, even if soaring oil prices might be, due to sanctions on Russia and the opportunistic profiteering by the whole industry...

    It's worth mentioning in passing, how good this war is for Russia’s rival oil producers, like those linked to the homicidal Saudi Arabian royals, who Johnson thought fit to ask to increase their supply...

    So, with inflation the highest in 30 years and with energy bills going up by 54% from April, what did Sunak offer to alleviate the current dire cost of living crisis?

    In his usual silver-spoon and boastful manner, Sunak claimed he was cutting taxes more than any other Chancellor in history, which of course was pure porky.  Against most predictions, he didn't do the obvious, by cancelling the April rise in NI contributions.  Instead, he increased the threshold above which NICs are paid.  So it’ll go up to £12,570, which will only partially reduce the hit, and only in 3 months' time...

    As for rising oil costs, only motorists might benefit (somewhat!) from his 5p/litre cut in fuel duty, but that depends on what happens at the pump.

    As for Labour, it asked for "more than tinkering around the edges".  But its "more" is that windfall tax on the oil and gas companies which it has been advocating ad nauseam.  This might bring in a few billion, but changes nothing fundamental.

    Of course Labour doesn't dare to demand public ownership of the energy industry, nor even statutory price controls.  But even such “radical” reforms, in the context of the quadruple economic whammy of ongoing world financial crisis, pandemic, Brexit and this latest war would have little or no impact - when all the ruling capitalists want to do, is to increase their profiteering!  Indeed, the only answer is for the whole rotten, profit-first, class system to go - including the oil and arms’ merchants and the degenerate political leaders behind them!

    It was they who stoked the war in Ukraine by provoking Putin. And it is they who "glory" in the fuelling of nationalism - yes, in “Brexit” Britain, in the US and in Ukraine - and their piles of bank-notes are already soaked in working people's blood. 

 P&O bosses hide behind a system the government defends

When P&O Ferries announced last Friday - by video - that the entirety of its on-board crews were fired with immediate effect, even Tory MPs denounced them. In Hull, 142 crew barricaded themselves onto their ship and refused to leave.  Security guards dangling handcuffs were sent to remove them by force.  P&O had bus-loads of agency workers waiting on the docks from Hull to Dover to Liverpool and Cairnryan, ready to take their place.

    Of course it was shocking.  But it's not the mass-sacking that ministers had a problem with, merely the way it was carried out.  Transport Secretary Grant Shapps criticised P&O for their "cynical approach" to the redundancies, and ministers wondered aloud whether the move was "illegal".

    However P&O owner, DP World, claims it followed the law. It told the government beforehand and has paid redundancy pay.  And anyway, it says, the crews weren't even employed by a British company.  Their ships are all registered overseas, meaning crews aren't employed "in Britain" and thus aren’t protected by “British law” (for what that’s worth!)

    As for Johnson, while saying that his government defends the rights of British workers in British waters, what this means is that anyone working outside of British waters, no matter what their nationality, remains “unprotected”....

P&O says it lost £200m in the last 2 years.  But owner DP World made profits of £3 billion in 2021 and still has a Brexit-benefit contract with Johnson’s government to develop the Thames Freeport for £50m!

One Tory MP complained peevishly that P&Os action wasn’t even to “fire and rehire”, as the crews weren’t “even” given the choice of signing new contracts at a lower wage! Yes, indeed.  But thanks to Johnson’s government even “fire and rehire” remains perfectly legal.  And it’s been carried out with impunity by British Airways, British Gas, Weetabix, and Tesco among many others...

What’s more, as all agency workers would confirm, being fired and rehired without notice is one of their only “rights” these days!  And this is what’s really at issue.  The utter degradation of workers’ employment conditions, as the casualisation of employment has more and more become the “legal” norm.

So what is to be done?  In fact, restoring decent jobs, wages and conditions is something that only the working class and its organisations can reliably carry out.  And if today’s union leaderships are incapable of organising the kind of fight back needed to impose this, then it’s up to the rest of us on the ground to begin this very urgent task!