Even before the pandemic, workers and young people in the UK were in a crisis. Housing prices in urban centers were skyrocketing, zero-hour contracts and precarity were haunting the future of young workers and even the most earnest trade union leaders had largely abandoned any idea of a large scale fightback based on the membership instead placing their hopes on the tragically concluded Corbyn project.
And despite the government’s promises that ‘we’re all in this together’ their actions have shown the opposite – exacerbating the immense inequality in UK society. As redundancies rise at the fastest rate on record, disproportionately affecting BAME and young workers – the government is winding up the furlough scheme and offering nothing in its place leaving open the question of how we are going to continue to pay exorbitant rent and other bills. In the workplaces, heroic frontline workers like nurses are refused a pay rise while Tory MPs vote to put more cash in their own pockets. And at the same trade union leaders like TUC head Frances O’Grady think what we need is “We need a national council of reconstruction to rebuild the country.” instead of a militant mass movement initiated by the trade unions to fight for our livelihoods. It’s clear that whatever concessions the government gives us with one hand will be taken away with the other.
However, there’s an explosive mood among workers and young people across Britain. It’s been shown in the BlackLivesMatter movement, the recent conflict in Greater Manchester around funding and the growing number of demonstrations in schools and universities by both workers and students. So how do we build on the energy of these types of struggles to fight back for genuinely affordable housing, better pay and conditions in the workplaces and more decisive militant action by the trade unions? Bring your ideas to these sessions at the Revolutionary Ideas Festival to discuss and hear what Socialist Alternative has to say!
The following discussions will be part of the Revolutionary Ideas Online Festival of Resistance and Socialism (both on Saturday 28 November 2-4 PM)
The looming housing crisis: fighting evictions and high rents
Covid-19 and economic crises – fighting back in the workplace and trade unions
Workplace and TUs