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Editorial: Workers are fed up of being squeezed and taken for granted

YESTERDAY the Financial Times gave a stark warning on its front page that the world’s most well-known multinational household brands are set to increase their prices, some by more than 10 per cent.

These fat cats include Amazon, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s as well as Unilever, which makes consumer goods such as Dove soap and Persil washing powder.  

Big business claims that the current trend of price hikes is due to the effects of inflation, the pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine. The IMF has cut its predictions of growth and expects a “downturn,” calling the situation unpredictable.

However, if you are a worker or a regular reader of the Morning Star, you might know that while our wages are stagnating due to the decisions of government and big business, profits for big business continue to skyrocket.

Amazon made over $10 billion in net profit last year. Coca-Cola, over $6bn; McDonald’s, $3bn.

That is almost £20bn in corporate profit between just three huge companies — and yet the banks, the boards of directors and the politicians are telling us that we need to tighten our belts.   

As reported today by the Morning Star, the so-called cost-of-living crisis is in fact a crisis of capitalist rate of profit.  

The capitalist class and its hangers-on are making plenty of money, but it is always looking at ways to increase that profit margin, whether through keeping our wages down, cutting the expenditure on our public services, or firing and rehiring workers on worse conditions.

Big business, politicians and privately owned media want to make the conversation about how workers ought to stomach the apparent fallout from inflation, the pandemic and war as a justification.  

They expect us to accept their attacks on our communities, our livelihoods and our terms and conditions at work.   

However, despite the myriad obstacles placed in front of us, workers are organising and fighting back with success. Our duty in the coming period is to continue building this organisation and resistance.

Above all, we need to pull more and more people into our collective struggle by pointing out the disparity between corporate profits and the plans of the Tories and their new leader — whether it’s Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss — to make fighting back even more difficult for our trade union movement.

Only last week the government changed the law to allow the employment of agency workers in the middle of strike action, for which Unison is seeking to take it to the High Court.

We know that in reality the capitalist class wants to make workers suffer and pay the price for inflation, the pandemic or war. They want to make us pay, whatever their excuse.

But when we face injustice, we get on our feet. Workers are fed up of being taken for granted and fed up of parlour-room politics.  

Now is the time to build inspiring trade union action, following the example of over 40,000 rail workers of the RMT yesterday, as well as Aslef, the CWU, TSSA, and all other workers taking action for change.  

We need to build the rank and file and the grassroots, where many trade unions are now finding their success in organising precarious workers, and give our movement a new strength and confidence.  

Now is the time to turn the public anger against cost-of-living crisis, everyday corruption and “partygate” into a popular and public-sector battle against the Tories, for a real recovery from the pandemic and for social and economic progress.

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