Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oi! What about the workers?

I should be writing up my report of yesterday's meeting of UNISON's NEC, but I haven't yet finished the report from the previous day's meeting of the Development and Organisation (D&O) Committee – and am now off to a meeting of the Regional Council.

I will briefly comment that I was pleased that yesterday's meeting adopted a positive and progressive policy statement in response to the current financial crisis.

The “part nationalisation” of some of the largest financial institutions is not intended in any way to subject the “commanding heights of the economy” to any sort of democratic control – on the contrary the Government is just trying to prop up the financial system so that it can carry on as before.

UNISON is right to point out that if so many billions are available to support the financiers then there is a strong case to end the public sector pay freeze, and to “bail out” those who face fuel poverty and repossession. Even if they don't get their exorbitant bonuses, none of the bankers who have grown even richer on the back of dodgy lending will be worrying whether they can afford to put their heating on this winter!

In the absence of a mainstream political party of the left, it is up to the trade unions to express the interests of our members in this crisis – we should be meeting at branch level to discuss the NEC statement and how we take forward a campaign for the sensible demands which it sets out.

New Labour economics is over.

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