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The cause of labour is the hope of the world

On International Workers’ Day, JEREMY CORBYN MP highlights a message that’s as relevant as ever in austerity Britain

THE cost-of-living scandal demands urgent action from the government.

Rising costs at the supermarket and at the petrol pump, low wages and soaring energy bills are already driving millions of people to cut back on what they eat, need and enjoy.

The inequality gap between the richest and poorest in our society is rapidly expanding. The Trussell Trust reported this week that it had given out over two million food parcels in the past year.

Leading economists have stated that we are at the beginning of the largest decline in living standards in post-war Britain. 

That’s after a lost decade-and-a-half since the 2008 financial crisis. With each passing month and each missed opportunity to act, more and more people will be pushed into destitution and desperation.

Meanwhile, government cronies, seven-figure-salary CEOs and global corporations are enjoying record profits at the expense of underpaid workers, ripped-off communities and our abused planet. They are a million miles away from helping anyone but themselves.

Let’s judge them by their actions: P&O illegally sacked its 800-strong workforce by Zoom and replaced them with agency workers on below the minimum wage, and fossil fuel giant Shell has quadrupled its annual profits as energy prices soar and the climate breaks down.

Our political leaders must be bold in bringing forward solutions and legislating for real change. The needs of the many must, without hesitation or failure, come before the greed of the few.

The Trade Union Congress and opposition calls for an emergency Budget to address some of the issues exacerbated by the spiralling cost of living are a welcome first step in the right direction, but we simply must go further. Temporary solutions don’t ultimately solve permanent problems.

We need a real transfer of power and wealth in our society.

That’s why we build movements with the power to make the big changes we need. We are trying to do that with the Peace & Justice Project, deepening connections  with trade unions, organisations and leaders in Britain and around the world.

From standing on picket lines with striking university staff and London Underground cleaners, to building an alternative vision for a sustainable and fair world with a Green New Deal, the Project is a political home for activists to share ideas and develop demands to better our society.

The cause of labour is the hope of the world. It was true 100 years ago and it’s true today. Without workers coming together in their unions to fight for a better world for themselves, their families and their communities, it’ll never come.

On International Workers’ Day, let us celebrate and take inspiration from the numerous trade union victories against exploitative practices such as fire and rehire, the incredible history of our movement, and honour those who sacrificed so much for the cause of workers’ rights, by carrying on that fight and building our power everywhere we can. 

Jeremy Corbyn is MP for Islington North. He was leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020.

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