Right to resist David Cameron brags about boomtime Britain, but none of the growth will be shared with us. While profits, bonuses and top salaries surge, for us 2014 will be ‘a hard year’ and welfare cuts will continue after the 2015 election.
Inequality is skyrocketing. It is now worse than in Edwardian times. No matter about homelessness, insecure jobs, the scandal of foodbanks. No matter that a credit bubble is threatening another bust. For the millionaires in Cameron’s cabinet, rock bottom wages, redundancies and a further savaging of welfare are needed to keep the profits flowing.
that tube workers are fighting against Boris Johnson’s plans to sack all station staff. That is why lecturers and others are right to strike for more pay. That is why we should all support students protesting the privatisation of loans.
Most people are disgusted by this politics of privilege. This feeling needs to be turned into action. That is why it is so important
The People’s Assemblies that have sprung up around the country can be organising centres for exactly this kind of fighting alliance.
We need to bring these fights together with the other campaigns against austerity to shake this millionaire’s government down.
Hands Off London Transport campaigner and RMT striker Leon talks to Sam Fairbairn about the government’s attack on London underground workers. What’s happening to London Underground? There’s going to be £9 billion worth of cuts to the operating budget of TFL. These include the closure of all ticket offices and getting rid of 1,000 jobs. This means a reduction in public services, a move towards privatisation, worsening conditions for workers, and greater safety concerns for the public. How does this fit in with the government’s austerity plan? This dispute centres around a political issue – it centres around austerity. The government is attacking the most vulnerable people and these cuts are a continuation of that. The removal of staff and the ticket offices will hit disabled
people and pensioners hardest. Transport workers are striking over these issues in February. How can they win? The strikes will be a success when members of the public and other members of the trade union movement come out and support the workers, stay unified and are convinced to continue this fight together. Is this an attack on the union? This is certainly an attack on one of the most militant unions, in the most militant area. It’s a test for the RMT and a test for the whole movement. It’s an attempt to break us and if they get away with this they will go for others. turn to p2
Students on the move The students are moving again. Winter brought fourteen university occupations, galvanised by the spike in industrial action by staff. The Student Assembly against Austerity is growing, with over 45 universities committed to the week of action in the first week of February. In London the break-up of the Senate House occupation was followed by police brutality and indiscriminate arrests. What triggered it was action against austerity on campus. Police underestimated the solidarity amongst students and when we appeared in our thousands to demand ‘cops off campus’, there wasn’t an officer in sight. The tripling of tuition fees temporarily masked the effects of austerity on campus. University budgets hit by cuts are being plugged with all the extra cash they’re taking from students. But it won’t last. And with the privatisation of the student loan book, we’ll be shovelling our wages into the pockets of private companies instead of into public education. The worsening conditions of workers on campus, attacks on student democracy, the privatisation of our loan-book and the crackdown on peaceful protest are connected. We have to join these dots and build a broad, united movement against austerity, a movement capable of winning victories, and keeping David Cameron up at night. For more on week of action go to www.thestudentassembly.org.uk
RMT INTERVIEW CONTINUED FROM OVERLEAF: How important is it to get support from the general public? We hope the strikes can inspire people to take a stand against all austerity. We are working with organisations like the People’s Assembly as a way of pulling together the unions, the campaign groups, the political parties and individuals. What next? The RMT and the People’s Assembly are part of the Hands Off London Transport campaign, which is an umbrella group opposed to the transport cuts. We’ll be holding soap box style public meetings outside tube stations in the coming weeks. We’re working on an open letter of support for the strike and in opposition to the cuts and we are appealing to individuals and organisations to get down to the picket lines to show their solidarity. For more visit http://handsofflondontransport.wordpress.com
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