Tomorrow (Thursday 10 May), hospital workers in the Unite union, civil servants in the PCS union and college and university lecturers in the UCU union are going on strike. The dispute is primarily about the Tory-led government’s attack on their pensions. The government wants them to work longer, pay more into their pensions and get less at the end.
But the strike is also about the attacks this government is making on all of us – the cuts to our benefits, the job losses, the pasty tax, pay cuts for us and tax cuts for the richest 1%. If the government is defeated over pensions it will be easier to defeat them over everything else. We must all support the strikes!
Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance have organised a 'Strikers' Cavalcade', a sort of mobile solidarity with various picket lines and demonstrations across West and Mid-Cornwall. The itinerary involves supporting the PCS picket at Pydar House and the Disabled People Against Cuts protest at the ATOS premises at around 9am, supporting the PCS picket at HMRC in Redruth around 10am, on to Penzance at around 11am for a meet-up with Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance to leaflet by the Wharfside shopping centre in Market Jew Street and to offer solidarity at the threatened Remploy factory in Long Rock, before arriving at Treliske Hospital in Truro for a demonstration with Unite and PCS members. Trade unionists that are on strike should try to meet with the cavalcade at some point but this is not just for those on strike. Everyone should support the strikes because a victory for one is a victory for all.
The government says we must pay off the debt that has resulted from giving £850 billion pounds of our money to the banks, in five years. Yet our national debt was proportionally greater in 1948 when the NHS was created.
Even if we do agree that we need to pay off the deficit, £120 billion in tax is either evaded, avoided or not collected each year. This equates to three-quarters of the deficit. If Corporation Tax was returned to the level it was at in the 1980s that would cover the rest of it. There would be no need to make one single cut.
The government wants ordinary people to pay for an economic crisis created by the bankers, multinational companies and politicians. Yet they are on the back foot after it was revealed anyone can buy Tory policy for £250,000, their bungled budget, the scandal of their links to Rupert Murdoch and their disastrous results in the recent local elections. The government needs to be stopped and it can be.
Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance meet every Tuesday at 7.30pm at the British Rail Club at Truro Railway Station.
Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance meets every other Monday at 7pm in the snug at the Crown pub at the bottom of Bread Street in Penzance. The next meeting is on Monday 21 May.