Articles  •  Britain  •  TUC - Trades Union Congress

TUC: leaders without a strategy

25 March 2011

The Trade Union Congress called the 26 March demo under the slogans: jobs, growth and justice. Countering the Con-Dems’ rhetoric that that there is no alternative to cuts, the TUC bases its economic strategy on three demands:
• Crackdown on tax avoidance and loopholes
• Raise Robin Hood tax on banks and finance
• Policies and time to secure recovery and create new jobs.
Fine policies as far as they go, but as a strategy this does not go nearly far enough to recover the trillion pounds we handed over to the banks in the credit crunch or restore workers’ living standards.
Of course we should make the super-rich and mega-corporations pay their taxes – and raise their rates dramatically. But what happens when these companies decide to relocate to a country with lower taxes?
We have a clear answer: workers should occupy their premises and the government nationalise them, without a penny’s compensation. Let them move, but the factory, equipment and production stay in the UK. We should run the companies under workers’ control to stop the bosses throwing people on the dole.
The Robin Hood tax could bring in £20 billion. But it doesn’t address the fact that RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock are “publicly owned” yet behave the same as before the crisis. RBS paid its top bankers £950 million in bonuses despite a £1.1billion loss. It has shed at least 27,000 jobs since its rescue.
We should nationalise all the banks, merge them into a single fund and use their assets to put the unemployed back to work, rebuilding our services and renewing our environment.
Also fine words about creating new jobs in time but where’s the policy to stop job cuts now?
TUC chief Brendan Barber has warned unions not to launch strikes because they could be perceived as “automatically partisan and hostile to a Conservative-led government” – as if that’s controversial! He counterposes a letter-writing campaign to Tory MPs and stunts against tax dodgers.
Why is the TUC so opposed to action? Strikes have an excellent track record in reducing cuts; if they were coordinated and extended beyond one day protests, they could save even more jobs and services.
But Barber and his fellow bureaucrats know such action could easily get out of their control – and these well-heeled ladies and gentlemen fear that far more than they fear the Tories.
Thousands of rank and file trade unionists have already seen through this charade. On 26 March, we need to raise loud demands on the union leaders for real action – strikes, occupations, solidarity – and prepare to organise it without them if necessary.


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