Necessity to Defeat Austerity and Fight for a New Direction for Society
The 147th TUC Congress is taking place at the Brighton Centre from Sunday, September 13, to Wednesday, September 16. As Congress 2015 convenes it is essential that the organised workers make all the necessary preparations to defeat the austerity agenda and march in step with the growing movement for the alternative to austerity. The necessity is to defeat austerity and fight for a new direction for the economy and for society.
The mass demonstrations against the Conservative government’s austerity agenda following the General Election have shown the mood of resistance that exists in the country. As part of this there is also a TUC mass demonstration planned for October 4 in Manchester against austerity and the Trade Union Bill.
Delegates will come together to discuss motions submitted by the constituent trade unions that are grouped into five sections referring to the fight for jobs and a new economy, the fight for fair pay and a living wage, defending public services and welfare benefits, respect against bullying and diktat and a voice at work, the need for strong unions and TUC organisation. There will be a debate about the fight against the Trade Union Bill currently before Parliament and the campaign to oppose this attack on the rights of working people and their unions. The General Council theme announced for this year’s Congress is “Great jobs for everyone”. The TUC says, “Economic growth might be back but millions of workers have seen the worst decline in real wages since Victorian times. The government looks increasingly out of touch with the concerns of ordinarypeople, ignoring the damage to the economy too. It is against this backdrop that the trade union movement will come together, in Brighton in September this year, to debate, discuss and decide how we can take action and organise to defend the people we represent and set out a vision for a better way.”
However, this vision for a better way must be based on a new direction for the economy, and a recognition that workers constitute the future for society. These times call for the rejection of programmes that defend and promote someone else’s agenda whether this be the Cameron government’s, the monopolies’, or that of any other force that opposes the public good and harms the social and natural environment. There is a very serious situation looming, whilst the ruling elite are talking about recovery which itself a cruel joke played on the workers. The financial oligarchy, the monopolies and their Conservative government backers are wrecking the economy with their “austerity” drive so that this gap between the rich and poor is growing as everything is done to fund the rich at the expense of society and the public good.
The new Trade Union Bill further confirms that there is no recognition of any rights of the workers, let alone recognition that the working class is the producer in a socialised economy. The Bill’s aim at this stage is to prevent the workers from bringing their numbers and organisation into play in their resistance against the anti-social measures that they are trying to force through. TheCameron government aims to present the trade unions as the ones who are abusing their power by striking to defend the public services and pensions. The Bill, along with all the trade union Acts, should be scrapped and the right to organise and workers rights must be recognised fully along with the rights of all.
The thinking and outlook of the organised workers’ movement has to go beyond the problems that the government and the big corporations impose in terms of limiting productivity, jobs, wage rises and so forth. The fact that the government wants to deny the right of the workers to organise actually confirms that working people are at the centre of the creation of wealth of the economy and society and have the potential to protect their interests. The workers have to underline their place in charting a way out of the crisis and creating an alternative society by emerging as the force that has the answer to the problems facing a society presently at the mercy of the monopolies. This goes beyond the aspiration of simply being on the boards of directors, or influencing share holders, to one of actually being the decision makers in society. The workers must take up the issue of working class representation and democratic renewal, so that political forms and institutions serve working people and not the rich and powerful.
WWIE calls on the delegates to play their role in the challenge facing the working class to resist the assault of the monopolies. The TUC Congress 2015 must make a clear statement that it opposes the neo-liberal anti-social offensive, that there is a necessity for a new direction for the economy which opposes and reverses the wrecking of the manufacturing base, and the privatisation of the NHS and education. Rather the economy must serve the working class and people with the guaranteeing of jobs and a livelihood, decent pensions, guaranteed funding for social care for children, the elderly, the frail and vulnerable and those in need, including everyone who is differently abled. The iniquitous wrecking of society must be ended, along with the growing gap between rich and poor, the attack on social programmes in order to pay the rich and the entrenching of class privilege. The TUC must take a stand against the militarisation of the economy, the use of force to resolve international affairs, and for respecting the sovereignty and the right of countries to determine their own affairs without outside interference.
The times are calling for a new direction for society in which the working class and people are empowered to make the decisions. This involves challenging the domination of the ruling capitalist elite. The working class is the future – that must be the spirit of TUC Congress 2015.