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Jobs cut while the rich carry on partying
Greenwich protest against council cuts 29 November 2010 - riot police were called, photo Chris Flood
On 6 January nearly 8,000 council workers employed by Greenwich received notices of dismissal. The council wants to sack its entire workforce, with no entitlement to redundancy pay, and offer new contracts with inferior terms and conditions.
A Greenwich council worker
Workers are entitled to four annual increments to take them to the top of their scale. These are not yearly, negotiated pay rises, they are a contractual entitlement, a condition under which workers have taken jobs on. Now the council has decided which contractual entitlements it will honour.
This is a clear example illustrating the uneven power relationship in the workplace. The only chance that workers have of evening up this relationship is by collective action through their trade unions.
Greenwich protest against council cuts 29 November 2010 - riot police were called
In Greenwich, Unite members are preparing to fight this attack. This is because workers recognise that this is merely the first round. If the council gets away with it this time, it will become the method of choice in attacking pay and conditions.
There must be no mistaken tactic from the unions that by allowing this attack now, further attacks will be avoided - that the council will somehow be reasonable in light of a sacrifice made by workers. The opposite is true. It will be seen as a sign of weakness and will give the green light to further attacks.
But while workers face pay freezes, the bankers continue to roll in it. Massive bonuses are once again being paid.
The Financial Times continues to print a magazine for the rich called How To Spend It, showing luxury goods that the rich continue to be able to buy.
The rich and their operatives in the Tory government continue to spend, spend, spend on themselves including extravagant new year parties and holidays. Yet they tell us that the cupboard is bare, that there is no money left, that there are record levels of debt. Lie after lie. In fact there is plenty of money, plenty of wealth. It is just that the wrong people have it all and refuse to share it with the majority!
Those who have their noses planted in the trough tell the rest of us that we have to accept a pay freeze for the greater good. But the greater good requires that we oppose pay freezes, the greater good requires that we build a society where the majority are not required to sacrifice our pay for the good of the wealthy, over-privileged few.
In The Socialist 12 January 2011:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news