On 1 October, strikes across the docks, railways and post need to spark solidarity struggle, the only way to defeat the Tories, argues Unjum Mirza.
After a ten-day hiatus - ten days that sold the world a lie - the class struggle is back. Britain is divided. Their lord and ladyships of Privilege, the brethren of Parliament and the Boards of Profit all surfaced to tell us how ‘we’ feel as a ‘nation’: united in ‘our’ grief over the death of the Queen. The press has worked flat out to broadcast the myth, while the police (amid even shadier elements of the state) have worked overtime to protect it.
Away from La-la Land and back to the land of the living, the poor, dispossessed and workers have been assessing the costs of energy, food and cancelling direct debits in desperate bids to stretch their inflation-hit wages to make ends meet. The trade-union leaderships who found coordinating across the trades isn’t so difficult after all - if only to volunteer a one-sided truce in the class struggle and call-off scheduled strike dates - could not hold the line.
Now, on Saturday 1 October some 200,000 workers will strike together across the docks, railways and postal service, marking the most important demonstration of workers’ power the present strike wave in Britain has seen to date.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, is to strike across twelve Train Operating Companies (TOCs) on Saturday 1 and Wednesday 5 of October: the day before the Tory party conference begins in Birmingham and the day it ends. The RMT and TSSA have co-ordinated strike action on 1 October (with more dates to be announced) ensuring the entire national railway network shudders to a complete halt.
CWU postal workers across Royal Mail will strike on 30 September and 1 October while 500 Liverpool dockers yesterday commenced a fortnight of strike action over pay, and will be joined by a solidarity delegation of Felixstowe dockers this Friday. Felixstowe voted by 80% to continue their strike action for a second round of eight days from Tuesday 27 September, after overwhelmingly rejecting the employers’ imposition of a 7% pay award (pay cut).
The immediate task for every trade unionist and socialist is clear: in every city across the country, we need to generate the greatest level of solidarity on the picket lines, while promoting the broadest unity among campaign groups – Enough is Enough, People’s Assembly, Don’t Pay UK, Extinction Rebellion etc – in order to mobilise the widest layers of the working class to transform the day into a militant festival of resistance. This in turn will serve to boost the confidence of workers to fight and will shift the consciousness of millions in identifying the common class enemy: the Tories.
Liz Truss won the Tory party leadership race and took office as Prime Minister with a mandate that amounts to little over 0.1% of the population. The Tory leadership election confirmed what we all knew: they are deeply divided and weak. Given how close the result was, it is clear Sunak and others will continue to lurk in the dark awaiting opportunities, while Truss feels she has permission to proceed to make us pay for the crisis. It is down to us to make sure she takes the consequences and that we mark her victory as one from which no Tory recovers. This is class war.
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Unjum Mirza is a driver on the London Underground. He is on the Editorial Board of Tunnel Vision, the rank and file bulletin, and is an Aslef union branch chair.
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