“The scale of the assault on living standards needs to be met with an organised response that lifts the incomes of the lowest paid and shifts the burden for funding the economy on to those with the greatest wealth.”
By the Labour Assembly Against Austerity Team
Each day we read more about the deepening cost-of-living crisis, yet the reality remains that the Tories are more interested in doing the bidding of their rich backers than saving lives, jobs and livelihoods.
The scale of the assault on living standards needs to be met with an organised response that lifts the incomes of the lowest paid and shifts the burden for funding the economy on to those with the greatest wealth. For this reason Labour Assembly Against Austerity are organising a major event this Wednesday as part of their Workers Can’t Wait – Urgent action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis now campaign.
Explaining the complete failure of the Tory response and the urgency of the situation and need for the labour movement to propose far-reaching solutions, including through this campaign, speaker at the event John McDonnell MP said, “Half measures simply will not work when people are faced with the mounting scale of this cost-of-living crisis. The Government should not stand by and watch people go under.”
Helen O’Connor, trade union organiser and Steering Committee member of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity explaining the title and theme of the event, said quite simply that “workers can’t wait – we have suffered decades of having our wages, terms and conditions driven down to the floor; of having our public services cut.”
Now, ”it’s time for the suffering to stop. It’s time for the richest in society to pay their fair share… [who are making] billions in profits, even during a crisis.”
The solutions are there though, with McDonnell for example pointing out that “for a start, £200 winter fuel payments should be doubled and the £20 cut in Universal Credit reinstated as part of a £12.8 billion package of measures which could be paid for by scrapping corporate tax relief this year.”
Also speaking at the event is Rebecca Long Bailey MP, who said, “This is the time for the Government to wrap their arms around households, not to hit them more,” backing a windfall tax on super-profits, and wealth taxes, rather than the planned NI hike.
Now is the time then to stand up to the Tories and for a real alternative economic programme – and to do this through the building of mass movements and actions of resistance.
In a video promoting the event, Sarah Wooley, General Secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) urged viewers to ”join us on Wednesday where we’ll be discussing the cost-of-living crisis – and why it is that the government are intent on having parties, and forcing us into paying back gas rebates that we’ve not asked for, whilst the key workers of this country that have kept us going through the pandemic get left to pay the price of their failings.”
Explaining the need for this event and to keep building movements of resistance against the Tories, she added: “We’ve got a decision to make now – do we keep allowing them to tread all over us, or do we stand together? Remember that we’re strong united, we fight back and say no more.”
In a video on Twitter, Zita Holbourne – National Chair and Co-Founder of BARAC UK (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts) and a trade unionist (National Vice President of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and the joint National Chair of Artists’ Union England) – said that ”pay freezes mean that workers are having to make real decisions about whether to put food on the table or to pay bills. People are struggling to make ends meet and are having to go to food banks even before the recent cost-of-living rises that we’ve experienced.”
She added, “This disproportionately impacts on black and brown, and migrant workers – we’re more likely to be in lower grades, on lower pay outsourced workers and those in precarious work; so join us because nobody should have to struggle to make ends meet.”
She ended with the rallying cry that “this situation can’t go on any longer, so we have to work together, collectively to bring about solutions and to challenge what’s happening to us.”
In the words of Rebecca Long Bailey, “now is the time to fightback and demand an alternative” – join the Workers Can’t Wait event and support the campaign including by adding your name to the petition.
- “Workers Can’t Wait – urgent action to address the cost-of-living crisis” takes place Wednesday, March 16th at 6.30PM. Register for the online event to join John McDonnell, and a range of speakers and campaigns putting forward a radical economic alternative to Tory inaction.
- This article was originally published by Labour Hub on 15th March, 2022.
- You can follow the Labour Assembly Against Austerity on Facebook and twitter.