The attacks however have been made worse by something unexpected. Timidity within the Labour movement in mounting a concerted fight back.
Part of this timidity is for good reason. The movement has over the last decade become very re-active. It’s very good at being against things, but rarely expands on what it is for.
This has led to action ending up a cul de sac or in confusion. The current PMR system imposed is an example. No one wants it, but if it goes what would replace it, more to the point what would be acceptable?
Unions are at their strongest when they are proactive. Rather than letting the bosses, well, boss us around, the fight should be taken to them. The labour movement is supposed not just to protect but promote our interest. Look at flexi, the fact we work 37 hour week for example. These much valued terms and conditions were not just handed to us but fought for. Some 30 years later what are the improvements to our terms and conditions that the union and/or unions are demanding?
What happened to the demands for a shorter working week, paid sabbaticals, targets set by workers not bosses (bottom up targeting) maximum temperature at work, subsidised travel and child care, to name but a few? Utopian? No, all conference policy over the years.
It can be done. Siren voices will say that we can’t win on pay etc. so how can win such demands as above. Tell that to German car workers who recently won a 28 hour week. Just in terms of pay cleaners in London won a living wage by occupying buildings, Sparks on building sites recently won £100 pound a week pay rise by simply walking of work. The key is to have a demand people want, get behind it collectively and use imaginative tactics.
Historically all we enjoy from weekends to having the vote were won against much worse odds than now (so far they have not started shooting us) and through direct action. We are in a far better position now despite how it seems.
So how about it? It’s time to go on the offensive. For a 30 hour week, paid sabbaticals. Setting our own targets. Just fighting for conference demands would be a step forward
What would you like to see? Remember, be realistic, and demand the impossible.