Trade union leaders are talking about a ‘summer of discontent’, with workers on the railways, at Royal Mail, and in the public sector moving into action. These struggles must be brought together into a mass movement against the bosses and Tories.
Alongside rising temperatures in recent weeks has been a rising tide of class struggle, with strikes spreading like wildfire.
The RMT rail strikes have breathed confidence through the entire labour movement, inspiring other workers to move into action.
As a result, union after union are now declaring their intention to ballot members and take industrial action.
Already, around 115,000 Royal Mail workers organised in the CWU have voted to strike, joining members in the telecoms industry.
Railway workers in the ASLEF and TSSA are also set to strike, on top of further RMT strike days announced for 27 July, 18 August, and 20 August.
And even formerly-privileged layers such as criminal barristers are walking out, shutting down the courts in protest against the crisis in the justice system.
Unite the struggles
But this is only a small taste of what is to come. With the Tory government presenting pitiful below-inflation pay offers to public sector workers, strike action is also on the cards in the civil service, in schools, and in the NHS.
PCS and NEU are already moving to ballot members over strike action. And they are likely to be joined by unions organising healthcare workers. This includes the BMA, representing doctors, who have asserted that strikes are almost certain.
With workers across the board now moving into battle, all facing the same attacks on wages, jobs, and conditions, the situation is screaming out for coordinated action.
The trade union leaders – including the TUC, the umbrella organisation for the union movement – must therefore begin working together to actively link these struggles, in order to present a united front against the bosses and the Tories.
This should include the call for a one-day public sector strike over the question of pay, in order to unite the movement and galvanise the entire working class.
Alongside this, union-led demonstrations should be organised in every town and city, launching a mass campaign to force a general election and boot out this rotten Tory government.
Above all, to mobilise such a movement, the trade unions must fight for a bold socialist programme that addresses the root of the problem: the bankrupt capitalist system, which has nothing to offer but inflation, austerity, and crises.
This should include demands for a sliding scale of wages, linking pay to prices; for the expropriation of the billionaires, to fund a reversal of all the cuts; and for the nationalisation of the banks and major monopolies, under workers’ control, in order to plan the economy along socialist lines.
This is the revolutionary alternative that the Marxists in the movement are fighting for. We urge you to join us in this struggle – the struggle for socialism.
Model motion for TUC Congress
This Congress notes the Tory government is in a state of crisis, at a time when working people are experiencing a cost-of-living catastrophe.
Inflation is soaring, including rising energy bills, putting a squeeze on working people like never before. This comes on top of a decade of falling real wages and austerity.
At the same time, CEO pay has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and many companies are reporting record profits.
This Congress also notes the rise in industrial disputes that our affiliated unions are engaged in, including significant strike action being taken nationally by the RMT and CWU, amongst others.
This Congress believes that, given the generalised crisis facing the working class, coordinated action must be used across unions and industries, as part of a joint strategy to fight the bosses and Tories as a united movement.
This should include united action in the public sector over pay, starting with a one-day public-sector-wide strike. Mass demonstrations in every town and city should also be organised to coincide with this, demanding a general election in order to kick out the Tory government.
This should be linked to the fight for a socialist political programme, with an updated ‘New Deal for Working People’ to include the following demands:
- A sliding scale of wages, linking pay rises to inflation.
- The reversal of all privatisation and outsourcing in the NHS, with services run under the control of healthcare workers.
- The repeal of all anti-trade union laws.
- A mass programme of council house construction, building one million homes a year.
- Nationalisation of the big banks and top 150 monopolies, without compensation.
- A planned economy, run democratically by workers in the interests of people not profit.