Wednesday 15 December 2010

Post, Privatisation, Wages, Beans and the Welfare State

There's a national "Keep Our Post Public" rally today against the government's plans to privatise Royal Mail, with Len McCluskey as one of the speakers.

Privatisation is a key plank of the government's strategy to increase profits at our expense, by opening up our public services as new markets for comercial activity.

Plank 2 is cutting real wages (in the public and private sector) by using mass unemployment to depress wages while letting inflation drift up. The latest inflation figures this week show CPI inflation up to 3.3%, while RPI inflation, which is a more realistic estimate of the rate of increase in the cost of living, is up to 4.7%. No wonder some members are being driven to take strike action to defend their standard of living - UNITE members at Heinz in Wigan start their strike over pay tonight.

Plank 3 is the assault on public services and the welfare state, by a combination of pushing costs onto individuals (as with education) and direct cuts in provision.

If we want to successfully defend our own jobs, standard of living and services, we need to support all those resisting any element of this strategy to make us pay for an economic crisis we did not create. Amongst other things, that means backing campaigns against privatisation such as at Royal Mail, campaigns to defend pay and pensions such as those at Heinz or the BBC, and campaigns against cuts in public service and the welfare state, such as the magnificent and inspiring campaign being waged by school, FE and University students.

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