On Sunday 4 October, the Conservative party will open their annual conference in Manchester. After five years of austerity, falling living standards, pay freezes and huge cuts to public services, a new parliament won’t offer a fresh start to working people and their families. The Conservatives’ new plan is an old plan – back to the future with more of the same.
We were told that austerity measures were a necessary, short, sharp dose of medicine . But five years later, the prescription is the still same. More plans to privatise public services, like the NHS. The government telling hardworking people, like midwives, teachers and transport workers, that they must work harder and longer. Public servants’ pay frozen for 4 more years. Threats to jobs in the public sector. Plans to sell off social housing. Cutting tax credits, disability benefits and help with the rent. Unfair targeting of young people.
Trade unions have a proud tradition of standing up for workers, their families and the services everyone uses. So now the government is threatening the right to strike.
In the trade union bill, they propose to make it harder for unions to take strike action to oppose their cuts. They want to make it harder for workers to speak out – allowing employers to use agency workers to break strikes and putting huge restrictions on pickets and protests. In short, they want to silence millions of union members and threaten their right to strike.
So we all need to speak out now. March in Manchester on Sunday 4 October and tell the Conservatives that we say “No!” to austerity. And tell them that workers need a voice. That trade unions give workers a voice. And that instead of austerity, it’s a resounding “Yes!” to workers’ rights.