This week local councils announced their budgets are so squeezed they might not have enough cash to cover the redundancy payments for the tens of thousands of job losses they expect. So they plan more cuts!
The Royal College of Nursing reported that 27,000 nurses’ jobs are earmarked for the chop. The NHS is supposedly ringfenced from cuts.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith last week signalled an attempt to break the welfare state and to use the benefit system to bully the poor and terrify those in work.
Some people have recognised that the student protest can be a turning point.
Nigel Stanley, head of campaigns at the TUC said, “the big numbers have given real heart to campaigners across the country.”
Tony Woodley, the joint general secretary of Unite, said “the anger and passion” shown by the students was shared by millions of trade unionists.”
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said, “Our immediate challenge is to link up all the different groups at the sharp end of the ConDem austerity measures into a united force of opposition that can turn the tide on Clegg and Cameron.”
As we show on these pages, students are gearing up for the next round of protests. Workers and others need to do the same.
Trade union leaders bear a heavy responsibility to focus the anger against the cuts—before the TUC demonstration next March.
The militancy of fightbacks like the firefighters’ recent strikes in London, and the solidarity with them, shows the potential for resistance.
The leaders of the NUT teachers’ union have said they will start a strike ballot over attacks on pensions.
All the unions that organise the five million who face that same pensions attack should take up the NUT’s call.
There are cuts in virtually every workplace and every community—and more will come.
Everyone needs to hurl themselves into building the fightback where they are with the same energy, commitment and determination as we saw on the streets of London last week.
Let’s make it a very unhappy new year for the Tories.