As unemployment grows, inflation rises, and the Furlough Scheme comes to an end on 31 October, a Rally For Jobs has been called in Bristol for this Saturday, by the Unite Bristol Area Community Branch 001500 (FB page link), and backed by the Bristol Trades Union Council. Meet in Broadmead at 12 noon this Saturday.
About time you might say! We need action to defend existing/remaining jobs; we need action to defend the conditions & pay of currently employed workers, many of whom are working under extremely stressful covid-19 pressures and/or from home; we need action to obtain better benefits for unemployed workers & their families than the cruelly low levels of support under Universal Credit; and we need action to improve the terms of the Job Support Scheme starting on 1 November, that represents a serious pay cut for workers compared to the initial Furlough Scheme that kicked in earlier this year….which was a pay cut anyway! It’s easy to criticise the feeble response of the TUC to the covid-19 & recession crises, but fair do’es to the Unite Bristol Area Community Branch 001500 for at least trying to start a fightback. here’s their callout on FB:
Unemployment is already soaring and likely to spike further when the government ends the furlough scheme on 31st October. Unite called for the scheme to be extended to avoid the risk of ‘redundancy floodgates’ opening. We can’t let unemployment mar our communities and help bosses drive a race to the bottom on terms and conditions. Unite Community organises those out of work for any reason but we want decent jobs for all who can work.
We will be meeting in the centre of Broadmead, between Barclays and Metro banks. There will be short speeches and leafleting to raise awareness of the issue and to build the union. We invite other labour movement bodies, campaigns and anyone worried about unemployment to join us.
We say: Now you don’t need to be a genius to see that the combined escalating crises – covid-19, UK & global recession (unemployment, benefit cuts, service cuts, inflation etc), Brexit, escalating climate change, pressure on the NHS & care-workers, and so on – require a combined response, because they are interlinked and you cannot solve one without addressing the others. Demanding that ‘PM Johnson back the workers’ is as pointless as telling Trump to wear a mask – they won’t, and nor do we want them too, because it just confirms their power. We need to empower ourselves. We cannot expect one trade union, not least it’s relatively small Community Branch, to deal with all of these issues. It needs a much wider involvement of the working class (not working & working), across genders & skin colours & ages, to organise together to fight for each and every one of us.
As things stand, it is clear the Tories are looking to the general working population to pay for all their historic greed (need for constant growth & profit), and mistakes – we will die as they mess up their response to covid-19; we will pay for the costs of their financial crisis via increased taxes in the future & more cuts to services; we will suffer from the devastation wrought by their corporate greed that is trashing the planet; we will have to endure the cock-ups & shortages as they enforce a ‘No Deal Brexit’…
But it really doesn’t have to be like that. We are many, they are few. So think – work strike; rent strike; mortgage strike; bill payments strike; tax strike! Work to rule; non-compliance; diy; self-organisation; mutual aid; mass gatherings; self-sufficiency; harass the politicians & bosses; picket the lot; blockade where we want; take what we need. Not as easy as ABC, but easier than the shit we face in the coming months & years. Just do it!
(Image credits – all images taken from Unite Bristol Area Community Branch 001500 publicity)