Tuesday 28th March 2006 witnessed over a million workers take part in the largest one-day strike in Britain since the General Strike of 1926. The Government is hoping to do away with council workers current deal that allows them to retire at 60 providing they have had at least 25 years service with the council. This assault on council workers rights is part of a wider global assault on the working class. However these attacks have provoked waves of resistance around the globe and on Tuesday 28th March workers in both Britain and across the channel in France took to the streets and went on strike in order to defend their rights from the attacks of their respectivegovernments. The reaction from businessleaders and their friends in the tabloids wasone of unanimous incredulity and disdain. Sir Digby Jones, director of the CBI, appointed "Voice of Business" and hideously bloated by his wealth declared the strike "a disgrace".
While we hope that Tuesday March 28th will mark the start of a new wave of working class resistance and fight we must understand, without illusions that a one-day strike is unlikely to unnerve the Government or its wealthy backers. Despite making a show of opposition to government attacks, Union Bosses have more often than not collaborated with government to impose these reforms by showing lip service to their members and asking for the attacks to be watered down in their severity. Thus we end up with government attacks being accepted with slight alterations in their wording or paltry concessions to the workers being made.. Such half measures only help the government in seeing through their business driven reforms and leave new workers open to attack. These submissions to government attacks have left the working class fighting a losing battle on a purely defensive footing.
The attack on pensions which is taking place in the private and public sector is an audacious effort by business to pass the costs of market and government failings onto workers in order to maintain and maximise existing profits. The Government hopes to tackle the pension's shortfall by extending the imposition of work meaning an increase in retirement age for the vast majority of workers. Telling people that because they are living longer they must work longer in today's age of material and technological affluence is a plain insult. Whilst company directors are able to take early retirement with million pound bonuses and lucrative pension schemes stolen from the proceeds of our own labour we are told by politicians that we must carry on working until we drop.
If March 28th gave us a fleeting indication of the potential power of the working class to disrupt and oppose the existing order and their attacks then we must build and develop this power in order that the government is unable to implement any more regressive reforms.
If we are to realise this potential the first step must be to ensure that attempts to divide us along lines of age or what sector we work in are overcome. The first step in realising our potential power as workers is to understand that we are at our strongest not only when we are united but when we act without restraint in our own interests, without the hindering intervention of divisive union leaders who would sell our interests in exchange for a friendly handshake from number ten.
We look forward to workers in here in the UK and across the world resisting these sets of degrading reforms with every tactic in our artillery, withdrawing our labour, taking to the streets and bringing the country to a standstill by whatever means necessary to defend and strengthen our position and to take the fight to the employers.