“The Government has made a political choice to push more and more working class people into poverty whilst they get richer, working multiple jobs on top of an MPs wage.”
By Sarah Wooley, General Secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU)
We live in the 5th richest nation in the world yet millions of people are reliant on food banks, are freezing and are living in absolute poverty, many of them are like bakers food and allied workers union members, key workers that have been and continue to keep the nation going, yet are going to bed hungry and cold, wondering how they are going to manage another week until payday because they aren’t paid enough to even survive.
And lets be clear, we know there is more than enough food to go around and that energy prices could be better controlled than they are currently. But the Government has made a political choice to push more and more working class people into poverty whilst they get richer, working multiple jobs on top of an MPs wage that many of our members could only dream of earning whilst our communities are stripped of resources due to cutbacks and people are literally dying as a result.
We cant wait for the Tories to be voted out, that’s unlikely to happen for a while thanks to the repeated failings of the current labour Party Leadership to show there is an alternative, Johnson might not be popular right now thanks to Party gate, but we know the public will forget that soon enough and that is where we as trade unions need to be there and we need to step up.
We need to work together across the movement supporting each other’s campaigns, I’m speaking at a PCS rally in a couple of weeks and talking to our members and reps about the power we have when we stand together collectively, giving them the resources to challenge the myths and lies spread by the Tories and the right-wing media that they have done a good job, because there will be people in our members workplaces believe they have and organise, our workplaces, industries and communities.
We need to engage with community organisations like the Ron Todd foundation for example, share resources and as a result make sure we reach as many people as we possibly can.
Because when we stand together as a movement and a class, concentrate on what we have in common rather than the things that divide us we are powerful – that is why the Tories have enacted the final stages of their anti trade union legislation in an attempt to hinder us.
But you only have to look at PCS, UCU the Clarks strike at community, the rail unions and many more to know its not going to work because our members deserve better.
In order to achieve change though we need to do it together. So if you are watching this and not in a trade union, join one and organise your workplace, support action taking place in your communities and lets push back together in solidarity
- Sarah Wooley is the General Secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU). This article is a published version of her speech given at the #JohnsonOut rally on January 29th – you can watch it in full here.
- Please follow Sarah Wooley on twitter here, and the BFAWU on twitter and Facebook.