• TUC organize a general strike!
  • For a sliding scale of wages, benefits and pensions linked to inflation!
  • Price controls to end profiteering!

By International Socialist League, Britain

Boris Johnson provokes rail workers to take national strike action. The Tories know only the language of profit – through privatisation and cuts and then blame workers for not accepting poverty wages and terrible conditions. While big companies use inflation to profiteer and push prices even further.

From 2013 to 2019 rail firms paid over £1bn to shareholders. In 2021 rail and bus operators announced a £500 million dividend bonanza to shareholders — and boasted of more to come — after receiving extra subsidies to run services during the pandemic lockdown. Then they raised prices again in 2022.

So, the Tories and private companies punish the rail worker and the travelling public.

We say solidarity with the RMT and call all unions to give, alongside the long-suffering rail passengers, to give full solidarity.

Supporting the picket lines call the TUC to organise a general strike

From an RMT rail worker, “All rail workers have had a pay freeze for the last 3 years so with an inflation rise we need a wage rise, no redundancies, protection of pensions and untouched T&Cs. I know that this won’t happen as Shapps won’t even enter into negotiations to try and sort this out, so this is the fight of our lives. All over the UK people are suffering the same issues, eye-watering energy bills, food prices rocketing, petrol prices going up every day, inflation at nearly 11% it goes on and on.

A wide strike movement

For months now, many strikes have been taking place; as we reported in the last issue of Socialist Voice: strikes in 2022 are the highest in five years.

In June and July, strikes are taking place against the cost of living, worsening work conditions, unequal pay, job losses and workloads. They include North Sea oil rig workers and many Unite sections are striking such as Fawley oil refinery. At the same time, many UCU university and college branches have escalated their four-fight campaign and USS pensions dispute to a boycott of marking and assessment (some suffering a 100% wage deduction). All college unions – UCU, NEU, Unison, Unite, and GMB – have rejected the latest national offer of a 2.5% pay rise and are balloting for strike action demanding a 10% rise.

We can build a general strike but our union branches and rank and file organisations must take the demand to all union branches.

Labour Party

Keir Starmer has no interest in making the call for all unions to strike to defeat the Tories’ policies on pay, conditions and privatisation. The transport secretary Grant Shapps said it is “crazy” to suggest the Tories want rail unions to go on strike this week, as Labour accused the government of encouraging the walkouts to go ahead to stoke division.

It is typical of Starmer to avoid giving full and unequivocal support to the RMT. So, this is a statement against giving such support.

Keir Starmer and the Labour Party are in complete support of the capitalist ideology in which the Tory government is based. A Labour government would steadfastly continue to carry out capitalist attacks on the working class to help capitalism, always at the expense of the mass of the population and the poorest.

The Labour Party is not able to give a lead to the working class. Unions should disaffiliate from Labour and lead the fight for a workers’ party that will enfranchise all workers across Britain.

For a workers’ party

The Labour Party is incapable of leading the fight against inflation and against the horrors of British capitalism and imperialism. Millions of people have bitter experiences of what the “free market” and its unrestricted licence for capitalist values means, at a time when those who rule this capitalist society grow more and more wealthy.

An overwhelming majority recognise the necessity for drastic changes to society, hence the growing number of strikes and protests showing deep hostility towards the Tory government and their brutal policies, supported by the youth and wide sections of the working class, many oppressed nationalities and including large numbers of the middle class.

A workers’ party should stand for a workers’ government with a policy of common ownership and workers’ control in defence of multi-ethnic communities, immigrants and asylum seekers. A workers’ party should establish the immediate nationalisation of railways, water, gas and electricity; have a policy of taxing the rich and supporting disabled people and the poor; with a policy priority for a health service run by committees based on representatives of GPs, hospital staff, unions and communities. A workers’ party should stand for the restoration of student grants, provide real training for the youth at work with a living wage, paid for by employers and a policy against unemployment, with a policy of public works on full wages; and with an education policy drawn up by parents, teachers and communities.

So, we support the call for a new workers’ party where a programme can be built for mass struggle on the streets to address all the problems created by capitalism – the soaring living costs and all the attacks against the working class.

Build the International Socialist League

We call for the building of a new workers’ party to help build unity in the struggle. But this is not enough. The working class need a revolutionary party that is completely class independent, internationalist and Marxist if we are to succeed. Through the work of our international, the IWL-FI, and the ISL we are building many connections with the world-class struggle.

We call on all union members to call for:

TUC organise a general strike!

Price controls to end profiteering by the multinationals!

A sliding scale of wages in line with inflation and adjusted monthly, including all benefits and pensions!

Nationalisation under workers’ control of all big monopolies; take back public services like rail and nationalise under workers’ control!