The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 10th April 2009
THE TUC leadership this Monday welcomed an extension of the right of parents to ask their bosses for flexitime to all who had children under the age of 16. But this right carried no obligation on the employers to grant such a request. A few may do so but the vast majority will claim they cannot possibly even think of it during the current economic climate.
The Government had begun to notice that children in this country have been suffering from a lack of parental attention because the parents are being forced to work over-long hours. But now they have “done something about it” they can pretend the problem is solved and forget it.
The Government has noticed that the number of people being evicted from their homes because of mortgage defaulting, is rising sharply. So it has arranged for mortgage lenders to grant home-buyers in serious trouble 30 days’ grace to come up with the arrears. This does nothing to address the problems behind the arrears, which may well arise from unpredicted redundancy. But it allows the Government again to pat itself on the back for having “done something” and then ignore the problem.
The probation officers’ union, Napo, facing yet another round of devastating cuts, is calling on employers to instigate a 30-day cooling-off period before making damaging cuts. This will do nothing to prevent the cuts proceeding anyway. They are driven by a ruthless ruling class that wants to cut public sector expenditure rather than pay the taxes it should pay to support public and social services.
A thousand and one other vital social services are facing the same sort of squeeze: childcare, education, healthcare, mental healthcare, services for the elderly and so on. Each time a scandal arises there will be cosmetic changes and the Government will then ignore the problem as things get worse and worse.
But our trade unions, built to defend the working class, are acquiescing to this onslaught; applauding the inadequate cosmetic solutions being put forward by the bosses and the Government and colluding with the lie that “something has been done” and the problem is solved.
Whatever happened to the spirit that regarded the acceptance of any redundancy as treachery – not just a matter of one person’s job but a job lost to future generations?
More importantly, whatever happened to the understanding that what was good for the workers was bad for the bosses and vice versa – the basis of class awareness. The bosses are rich because our work makes them so. Paying decent wages and paying for decent social conditions eats into their personal wealth – but we created that wealth! We demand our rightful share of what we have created!
Too many union leaders are now crawling cap-in-hand to the bosses and the Government in a spirit of “we’re all in this mess together” and “we’ve all got to put up with hard times to come” and “we must all work together”. This is rubbish. The capitalist system created the crisis through its inherent greed. It didn’t just happen like the weather. They did it and they want to go in doing it – to us!
British manufacturing is again in crisis. There are stocks and stocks of unsold cars that no one has the money to buy or run. There is no sense in making more of them right now. But that does not mean there is no manufacturing work that needs to be done. There is plenty of urgent stuff: like a lot more houses for working class families; more and better public service vehicles; more rolling stock for the railways.
A few years ago there was news from California of a new kind of solar panelling that could be produced cheaply by the roll. Why is our Government not investing in this big-time? Probably because the oil barons still think they rule.
This would be a good time to invest in municipal geo-thermal central heating for whole towns and estates. There is plenty of real work that needs to be done to adapt our civic infrastructure to a greener future.
And if our current ruling class is more interested in bailing out bankers and avoiding taxes it is time for the workers to start thinking of chucking them out and becoming the new ruling class.