Refuse collection disputes in Edinburgh, Leeds and Glasgow, all for more or less the same reasons, defending wages, not trying to increase them, just simple trying to hold onto the wage you have. Local councils, like all authorities, always interpret any legislation to their institutional advantage. To them, equal pay means reducing wages to the lowest denominator, not improving the wages of the lower paid, but only at the frontline services. The higher up the ladder you go the less this will affect you. These type of disputes are just a precursor to what we face in the coming year as councils up and down the country start to slash their costs. Don’t forget, we have the bankers debt to pay back. If we have any chance of holding onto our present conditions, let alone improve them, then it will only be with complete support and solidarity with any worker in dispute. Of course while we all go about our business not bothering with anybody else, it is easy for them to pick off one group at a time and slowly work their way through the lot of us. However if we stand together and support all working class people in any dispute, we can win our demands. Before the onslaught of cuts start to overwhelm us we should be organising now in the work place and in the community to meet this head on and win. In the so called “credit crisis” some of the wealthy lost some money, they don’t like it and want it back. They expect us to pay for their blind greed.
The questions we should all be asking is why is there not enough money to pay a decent wage to all ordinary people, but billions available for bankers, billions available for wars, tax breaks for multi-national corporations and subsidies for big business? The answer, because that’s the way this system works. We are only of use if we can produce more wealth for the rich and the powerful, who have the state to back them up should we start to get a bit annoyed at their greed.