Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 48 Number 14, May 12, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

"A new deal for working people"

TUC's March for the Alternative

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"A new deal for working people":
TUC's March for the Alternative

"A new deal for working people":
Working Class Has the Right to Solve Society's Problems
Working Class Has the Right to Solve Society's Problems (PDF)

For Your Information:
The millions trapped in insecure work deserve a new deal

Workers Forum:
Teachers' and Educators' Struggles

"A new deal for working people"

TUC's March for the Alternative

The TUC's march for the alternative on Saturday, May 12, "A new deal for working people", highlights the effects of the anti-social offensive on the working class and the whole of society, and can be said to be part of the struggles that working people are waging to turn things around.

This is no small matter. The neo-liberal agenda is only entrenching the all-round crisis of society, in particular that of the economy. In other words, it is not a matter of declarations but of bringing the human factor/social consciousness into play so that new relations are brought into being in a world of socialised humanity.

The fight goes on for workers to claim that section of the social product that they engender through their work that they determine as of right. They also demand that the whole of the wealth they produce whether in industry, in the health and education services, manufacturing, transport, and so, be applied for the benefit of society and not go towards pay-the-rich schemes and bolstering the privileges of the rich and powerful.

As the TUC points out, three million workers are stuck on zero hours contracts, in agency work and in low-paid self-employment. Workers in the public sector have been denied pay rises which have meant effective cuts in wages and standards of living. The drive of the ruling elite towards privatisation has affected all social programmes and services, and poverty, homelessness and an increase in vulnerability have also been the result of this agenda and the irresponsibility of the ruling elite towards the future of society.

To turn things around, the TUC says: "We're marching for the alternative. For a growing economy with great jobs in every nation and region of the UK. For a £10ph minimum wage and the right to a voice at work. For public services that are brilliant, funded and free at the point of use. And for a society that roots out racism, sexism and discrimination."

The working class is that social force which can give the economy a new direction. A new direction means that the social product and new value workers produce is utilised for the common good and not to pay the rich and powerful. The needs of the people require uninterrupted extended reproduction and global relations based on mutual respect and benefit.

A new society is the goal of working people. They are fighting day-in-day-out for their rights and interests. They know that to complain ever more vociferously and precisely what problems they face is not itself the answer to overcoming these problems. The conclusion must be that the present set-up represents the Old and is no way to run an economy or society. Enough is enough, and working people demand the New!

Article Index

"A new deal for working people"

Working Class Has the Right to Solve Society's Problems

The working class has shown that it has the experience and capability to progress and solve problems in industry and throughout the world of work. The present crisis in society affecting the direction of the economy demonstrates, on the other hand, that the competing private interests which have a stranglehold on the economy are blindly irresponsible and wreck the economy with their self-serving agenda.

But how to turn things around? What is for sure is that the way of running the economy which uses the state to enforce the sway of these private interests and leave the working class out of the equation is an obsolete way of doing so.

As RCPB(ML)'s May Day call said: "The ruling elite are unable to provide the rights of all with a guarantee. They serve only private interests and refuse to subordinate these interests to the general interests of society. These private interests have become so monopolised and all-encompassing that increasingly nothing is permitted to stand in their way. Public authority and all the arrangements of civil society are being destroyed. The ruling elite are attempting to concentrate all powers in the hands of the executive to implement whatever they decide without fear of being brought to account."

There must be a new way of running the economy in which the experience and organisation of the working class is brought to bear. The block on the right of the working class to solve the problems of society and to change the direction of the economy must be consciously fought and challenged. New forms of governance, new politics, new relations of production must be conceptualised and fought for. This is a necessity so that society can set an aim in conformity with modern forms of socialised production and social existence.

The working class must exercise its leadership in all fields of society, including against war and militarisation and for an economy and society in which health and education are recognised as rights for all and a budget is set which serves such an economy, and global trade and other international relations are based on friendship and mutual benefit, not on aggression and intervention.

As our May Day call emphasised: "The workers need no condescending saviours. They are capable of doing better. The situation must be turned around. In affirming their independent political programme, they must strengthen the movement for their own empowerment, bring into play their numbers, organisation and class consciousness. And, as a necessary part of this, the political party of the working class must be built."

It is the working class which has the right to rally all progressive forces round it, solve society's problems, and prepare the conditions for the New.

Article Index

For Your Information

The millions trapped in insecure work deserve a new deal

Anjum Klair, May 10, 2018

1 in 9 British workers are now stuck in precarious employment. Working people urgently need fair pay, decent rights and a voice at work

Today the TUC has published new figures showing that 3.8 million people -11.9% of the workforce are now stuck in precarious forms of employment such as zero-hours contracts, low-paid self-employment or agency work.

When the number of people in insecure work first began to mushroom after the 2008 economic crisis, we were told things would improve once unemployment began to fall.

Yet 1 in 9 workers are now in precarious employment today, even though joblessness has been in decline since late 2011.

If the labour market isn't to blame for the explosion in insecure work, then who is responsible for allowing millions to become stuck in jobs where they're treated like disposable labour?

The gig's up

People often associate insecure work with the growth of the 'gig economy' - app-based services like Uber and Deliveroo that have expanded rapidly across the UK in recent years.

But the shift in the relationship between workers and employers cannot simply be attributed to new technology alone.

After all, it's the jobs that have been around for centuries teaching, caring and providing hospitality where job insecurity has grown the quickest.

The growth in insecure work in these professions has nothing to do with tech wizards in Silicon Valley and everything to do with the green benches in Westminster.

For many years, the government has failed to crack down on shady business models that exploit workers.

Ministers have turned a blind eye to the half a million who could be in bogus 'self-employment', and done nothing to stop bosses using agency workers to undercut permanent staff.

Deeds, not words

When Theresa May launched Matthew Taylor's review of modern working practices last year, she promised to invest in good work and always be on the side of hard workers and good employers.

Unfortunately, we've yet to see those words backed by concrete action.

First of all, the Taylor Review hasn't been the game changer that we hoped for. We pushed for proposals that would shift the balance of power decisively in favour of working people so that they had a chance of taking on the bad bosses, but the review fell far short of what we wanted.

In any case, the real responsibility to tackle insecure work lies with the government.

That's why we pressed ministers to implement what good news was in the review (like better pay for agency workers and those who fall sick), and to think carefully before changing employment status or weakening minimum wage protections in the future.

We're also calling for the government to:

So far these demands have fallen on deaf ears.

The government recently announced plans to consult on some aspects of the review, but we're clear that much more needs to be done to end exploitative working practices once and for all.

Enough is enough

Workers deserve so much better than what this government is delivering. This Saturday, we're marching through London to demand a new deal for working people because we've had enough of the empty rhetoric from government and employers.

The TUC is determined not to allow insecure work to become a permanent feature of the labour market. While ministers sit on their hands, we'll keep fighting for fair pay, decent rights and a voice at work for everyone.

(TUC website)

Article Index

Workers Forum

Teachers' and Educators' Struggles

Lecturers demonstrate in support of Education for All outside the University of London on March 16, 2018

Teachers and educators desire first and foremost, through their labours, to contribute to the development of young human beings so that they can solve problems of the new society. Education is a right, and it can be said that teachers' working conditions are the pupils' and students' learning conditions. Furthermore, there is a struggle as to the kind of education system that people desire. Should it be human-centred or capital-centred. Educators want to impart knowledge and skills to students, and by so doing add huge value to society. They are opposed to all manner of prescriptive teaching and reducing the method to one of being a mechanical functionary and minor director to carry out the directives and whims of the ruling elites.

Teachers and educators are fighting back against the anti-social offensive. Such struggles as that of the lecturers show the determination and resistance of those in higher education not only to defend their pension rights, but to safeguard the future of education, and protest against the attacks on it. This struggle of the University and College Union (UCU) involved more than 40,000 lecturers, researchers, technical and academic-related staff at 64 universities. Lecturers at 64 universities across the country carried out determined strike action in a high-profile campaign to defend their pension rights.

And in secondary education, there is a struggle against Academisation. These Academies strike at the conception that education at the highest level should be available to all as of right. They are premised on the idea that education is a choice for the parents and children, that standards laying the ground for a future career are paramount, and that private interests should prevail.

Furthermore, teachers are faced with an intolerable pressure which is affecting the well-being of the teachers as well as the education of the pupils. Almost half (47%) of teachers believe the government and the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), are responsible for an increase in their workload. Bureaucracy and data collection have added unnecessary work. Capital-centred education demands "productivity" from labour that has little or no value for education only functionary performance. According to an NEU survey released at the ATL section annual conference, 87% of the teachers who took part said the government's 2014, "Workload Challenge" has not cut their workload at all.[1]

Teachers have to constantly prove that they are carrying out prescribed functions. NEU say that government changes to the curriculum, assessments or exams was the biggest driver of their workload and Ofsted inspections, while pressure to increase pupil test scores and exam grades was the biggest driver of their workload.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint General Secretary of the NEU, said: “It is a damning indictment but no surprise that so many teachers believe that the government and Ofsted are the biggest drivers of their workload - they are. The NEU has campaigned tirelessly for change, putting pressure on the Government to reduce workload. As a result of the NEU’s workload campaign, the Government and Ofsted recently produced a video about some of the activity around marking, data collection and lesson planning that Ofsted don’t want to see, and that heads should not ask for.” She continued: “We know that teachers are leaving the profession in droves due to pressures from workload. Teachers are a priceless resource and the Government should not be adding to their burn-out.”

Wherever teachers and educators are, in the past and in the present, they have been found to be in the midst of the working class movements for positive change, helping to activate the human factor and social consciousness. They are fighting against the trampling of their rights by an imposed neo-liberal agenda, as well as to safeguard the future of education for all at the highest standard as of right.


[1] The National Education Union is a recently amalgamated union of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the  National Union of Teachers, designed to strengthen the teachers' organisation and ability to defend their rights. The survey was released at this year's annual conference.

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