Below we are reproducing a statement issued by the Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain) and Ghadar International, dated February 7, 2023.
On February 1, 2023, nearly 500,000 workers belonging to various trade unions went on strike in support of their demands. Their main demands included pay increase and better working conditions. They also expressed their opposition to the new Minimum Service Level Bill. This bill is in the process of being passed in the parliament. It will make it illegal for a worker, who actually voted to go on strike, to join a strike if instructed by the company management to present himself or herself at work.
Big rallies and demonstrations were held in many cities and towns all over the country. Despite the government and the media trying to create public opinion against the striking workers for the difficulties faced by the people, all sections of people including students, pensioners and parents of children, as well as people dependent on using public transport supported the strike. Working people are seeing that it is the government of the capitalists which is responsible for the difficulties faced by them. University teachers, border force and the security staff and librarians have also taken to strike action. Nurses, fire fighters, paramedics and ambulance staff also joined the strikes.
Workers are determined to further escalate their struggle until their demands are fully met. Many more days of action have been already been announced for the months of February and March.
The cost of living has been increasing across the UK since early 2021. The annual rate of inflation reached 11.1% in October 2022, a 41-year high. From December 2021 to December 2022, domestic gas prices increased by 129% and domestic electricity prices by 65%. Food prices have also been rising sharply over the past year.
The government and the media are blaming the Ukraine war for the increase of inflation in this country. But the rate of inflation in France and Germany has not increased that much. Anyhow, the war in Ukraine was not caused by the workers. It was incited by British and the American imperialists and their NATO allies. The monopolist companies in armament industry are making huge profits from selling arms and the infrastructural companies are in line for making huge profits from getting contracts to build the ruined infrastructure in Ukraine. Why should the people pay for this?
While the capitalist system is putting limits to wages of the workers, it is not limiting the profits of the energy companies like Shell, which made £32.2 billion profit in the last financial year. The companies supplying gas to households are also making enormous profits.
They are cutting down expenditure on education, social services, social housing, community care, NHS, unemployment benefits etc., saying there is no money. All the wealth of society is created by the workers. The system works to make sure this wealth further lines the pockets of already wealthy exploiters instead of serving the needs of working people.
Who is to blame for the cost-of-living crisis and what is the solution? Some leaders of trade unions and the left political parties are blaming the Conservative party for that and advocating to bring the Labour party to power in the next parliamentary elections. But the historical experience shows that the Labour party is no different from other political parties of the rich when it comes to whose interest will be served by the parliament.
The only solution for the working class is to get rid of the capitalist system and take political power in its own hands. Only the working class can enact and enforce the laws which will bring prosperity for all the society.
Indian Workers’ Association and the Ghadar International fully support the just demands of the workers and hail their militant struggle for their rights.