Socialist Worker

Ministers plan to use scabs to break strikes

Issue No. 1813

NEW LABOUR is preparing a scab force to try to break strikes planned in the public sector in the next two months. It has drawn up secret plans against firefighters and postal workers who are fighting for decent pay and against privatisation. Ministers have agreed that the private firm Deya, which delivers Yellow Pages, could handle mail like utility bills during a post strike.

Postal workers will begin balloting for action from 27 August, and could go on strike next month. The government has also approved plans to bring in 30,000 soldiers to run a limited fire service if the firefighters' strike goes ahead in October. These proposals were discussed at the government's Civil Contingencies Committee, which met last week. They talked about action by firefighters, council staff, postal workers and train drivers.

Andy Gilchrist, general secretary of the FBU firefighters' union, said, 'It would be appalling for a Labour government to try to break strikes.' Millions of people in Britain are fed up with having to struggle on low wages and work long hours. That mood has turned into popular support for striking public sector workers.

Some 59 percent of people backed the strikes by council workers, and rail and tube workers. New Labour is afraid that this fighting spirit could spread. That's why it wants to use scabs hired by big business against the strikers. New Labour's Civil Contingencies Committee also approved a recommendation to monitor the newly elected left trade union leaders.

A senior government source was reported in the Independent as saying, 'We don't want a handful of militant individuals disrupting key services and bringing the country to a standstill. 'The fuel crisis taught us a valuable lesson in planning we won't forget.' New Labour's scheming should spur everyone into making extra effort to raise solidarity for workers going on strike.

New Labour begs unions for money - click here.

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Sat 17 Aug 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1813
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