The cost of food, petrol and fuel is going through the roof, with gas bills predicted to hit £1,000 a year in coming years. Meanwhile workers are being told they have to swallow pay cuts in real terms.
Yet at the same time chief executives at the BBC and Network Rail are getting bonuses and pay rises of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
All this has underlined the urgency of the People Before Profit Charter, which lays out ten demands to defend workers’ living standards in the face of mounting economic crisis.
Hundreds of people have signed up to the charter since its recent launch, including many involved in last week’s magnificent strikes by local government and Argos workers
“I visited the picket line at Argos’s Bridgwater depot last week,” reports Simon from Bristol. “Some 37 pickets signed the charter.”
Many people reported great enthusiasm for the People Before Profit Charter from council workers’ picket lines on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
The week before some 17 striking workers at the British Museum signed up to the charter. Others signing it include Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ journalists’ union.
The People Before Profit Charter has been launched by trade unionists, housing campaigners, students and pensioners as a response to attempts by bosses and government ministers to make workers pay for their economic crisis.
The charter’s ten points put forward proposals on a number of issues that would improve the lives of millions of people.
These include decent pay rises, taxing corporations, improving workers’ rights, opposing privatisation, building council homes, opposing racism and war, improving pensions, abolishing tuition fees and increasing the minimum wage
Supporters of the charter are now calling on people to raise support for it in their local union branch, pensioners’ group, student union, housing group and other campaigns.
People should also continue to ask their workmates, neighbours and friends to sign up to the charter. The level of support already garnered shows how deep the anger and concerns of working people go.
The People Before Profit Charter can help to mobilise the growing resistance to the attacks on workers – and it can help provide a left wing answer to the current crisis and halt the right in its tracks. Put your name to it, if you haven’t already.
Sign up to these demands
- Wage increases no lower than the rate of inflation as given by the Retail Price Index. No to the government’s 2 percent pay limit.
- Increase tax on big companies. Introduce a windfall tax on corporation superprofits, especially those of the oil companies.
- Repeal the Tory anti-union laws. Support the Trade Union Freedom Bill.
- Unsold houses and flats should be taken over by local councils to ease the housing crisis. No house repossessions. For an emergency programme of council house building.
- Stop the privatisation of public services. Free and equal health and education services available to all.
- End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and use the money to expand public services. Stop the erosion of civil liberties.
- Abolish tax on fuel and energy for old people and the poor. Re-establish the link between wages and pensions.
- No to racism. No to the British National Party. No scapegoating of immigrants.
- Reintroduce grants and abolish tuition fees for students.
- Increase the minimum wage to £8.00 an hour.
Many workers and trade unionists are now engaged in strikes and protests to defend their pay, jobs and services.
We pledge ourselves to support their action and to support the campaigns that are dedicated to protecting working people, including
- Unite Against Fascism
- Public Services not Private Profit
- Defend Council Housing
- Stop the War Coalition
- Keep Our NHS Public
Recent signatories include:
Tony Benn, NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear, Jeremy Corbyn MP, POA general secretary Brian Caton, PCS vice president Sue Bond, CWU vice president Jane Loftus, Bfawu general secretary Joe Marino, John Pilger, chair of FBU South Wales brigade Cerith Griffiths, PCS DWP group executive member Helen Flanagan, vice chair of PCS Wales committee Marianne Owens, Unison Wales youth forum chair Chris Daw, PCS rep Cardiff magistrates court Liz Taylor, Unison rep in Vale of Glamorgan Karen Tyre, Lambeth Unison rep Jon Rogers, Stop the War Coalition national convenor Lindsey German, former leader of Lambeth council Ted Knight, Lambeth college UCU branch secretary Susan McDowell, Croydon Unison branch secretary Malcolm Campbell, Lambeth Unison convenor for finance and resources Chester Danners, PCS Defra London branch organiser Niaz Faiz, Socialist Worker editor Chris Bambery, senior regional Unite industrial organiser Livie Reid, Argos Unite reps Nigel Jones and Joely Bendall, Unite convenor for Bristol council Steve Panes
All signatories are in a personal capacity