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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Attack Benefit Claimants - Attack piled onto attack !

The UK Government plans to pay privateers billions of pounds to provide "services to the unemployed" must be slammed as yet another example of Tory class war politics.
The announcement by Employment Minister Chris Grayling that private and voluntary organisations could compete for contracts worth £50m a year to remove people's benefits and put them into jobs.

The wholesale privatisation of the welfare-to-work scheme comes after the coalition government announced the sacking of upto 10,000 Department for Work and Pensions staff who traditionally supported the unemployed and those unable to work.

The Tories have repeatedly argued that the number of people receiving benefits must be slashed to help bring down the deficit. But Mr Grayling said that savings would be used to pay privateers who participate in the scheme.

Left Economics Advisory Panel co-ordinator Andrew Fisher rejected Tory claims that the measure would tackle unemployment.

With only 300,000 vacancies in the economy and over 2.5 million people on sickness benefits and another 2.5 million unemployed there are just not the jobs available.

The scheme would mean welfare payments would be transferred to big business who will make profits on the back of removing benefits from working-class people. This is yet another example of the Tories' class war - redistributing wealth from the poorest to big business.

The coercive measures to get people back into work are not only unfair, they simply do not work as well as supportive and targeted schemes run by the public sector.

It's shameful that the government is opening the door for private companies to profit from the vulnerable.

Last month, David Cameron said that the Trades Union Congress had to accept that the public sector would have to accept cuts in pay, pensions and benefits. What planet are they living on?.

Well, it's clear that they aren't living on planet Westminster, where the job is well paid, secure for five years and carries with it a very nice pension indeed, plus benefits and allowances that would make any normal trade unionist's eyes pop out.

Mind you, planet Westminster shows no inclination to boldly go where no man has gone before and extend its culture to the rest of the galaxy. Far from it.

Quite the reverse is the case.

After being turned over twice by the courts, word has it that the government of David Cameron and the seven dwarves, otherwise known as the Con-Dem coalition, is contemplating changes in the law so that it can get away with hacking back on civil servants' rights to long-established and agreed redundancy and severance payments that even the nation's judges have agreed are inviolate under the law as it stands at present.

It wants, we are led to believe, to bring the Civil Service terms and conditions "more into line with the private sector." It doesn't, of course, say why.

And the why is important, because the reality is that this is simply another cost-cutting measure and it's being driven through because the government is contemplating mass redundancies right across the sector.

It doesn't see the need to admit that arrangements in the private sector, which it seeks to parallel, are preferable simply because they're worse.

And it seemingly doesn't acknowledge that there is a need to attract decent staff to the Civil Service with any certainty about their conditions of employment.

Fiddling with the law so that you can breach longstanding agreements that have the force of law is no way to deal with a hard working and permanently overstretched workforce and it certainly won't win their confidence and support.

However, this government seems to believe that it's the correct way to proceed with all trade unionists, not just civil servants.

Because the other message that's coming out of planet Westminster is that the powers that be are planning a further direct assault, not on civil servants alone, but on the right to strike itself.

The plans that are rumoured to be in the offing would toughen Margaret Thatcher's union laws and block unions from calling strikes with a simple majority in a union ballot.

It's an uncomfortable thought that the Tory politician most deeply involved in this is London Mayor Boris Johnson who is said to have had talks targeting the capital's transport workers with Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

Mr Johnson's right-wing credentials are well known and it would be no surprise if he was to be picked to spearhead an all-out attack on the right to strike.

Downing Street may have claimed that it has no plans to change union or strike legislation, but this confrontationalist government is not in the mood to brook opposition.

It has shown through its short but aggressive existence so far that it has only one enemy in its sights and that enemy is working people. They are to be dismissed, deprived and disrupted at every cut and turn.

They will pay for the bankers' crisis, the shareholders' avarice and the government's ineptitude.

And if they resist, they will be trodden on.

Their rights will be restricted and they will be penalised for having the presumption to fight back.

But, eventually, and it may well be sooner rather than later, they will run out of patience and will kick back hard against this unremitting class offensive.

The coalition appears to be of the opinion that it should hit hard and hit soon. The response must be equally hard and equally soon.
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