Government bails out the bosses - what about the workers?

From the Bakerloo branch newsletter

Capitalism is in crisis: world markets collapse, banks are part nationalised and the government bails out big business to the tune of billions of pounds. Naturally the talk in the mess room is "what's happening with the pay negotiations?"

It is entirely rational that workers on the tube want to safeguard our livelihood during this time. Many workers will be mortgaged up to the eyeballs and seeing their homes sink into negative equity on a daily basis.

But will London's tube workers be treated as favourably as London's bankers?

The double standards and hypocrisy from government and the bosses has shone through during the last few weeks.

When other industries and communities have looked to the government for help, the mining, steel or car industries for example, the working class has been told "the free market rules", "let the market decide"; "state intervention is a bad thing". Now the bosses who have been speculating, gambling and profiteering for decades are in trouble, suddenly state intervention is essential. In fact, the free market speculators have even sunk so low as to blame the current crisis on the lack of regulation. As the saying goes, you couldn't make this up.

It looks now that the Government will have the cheek to say that workers will have to “tighten our belts” to help pay for capitalisms crisis. Already Mandelson has announced plans to postpone the extension of flexible working rights for parents of children up to the age of 16.

If the Government has decided that Keynesian economics is the solution to the current mess, i.e. spend your way out of the crisis, then if it's good enough for the bosses, it's good enough for us.

As every London Underground worker knows we are due a pay rise from April 2009. The mood in the mess room is that we want our pay rise on or soon after the anniversary date, not 10 or 12 months later. And we want a substantial pay rise. And we don't want any politicking around the issue of the Olympics. And we want a one year deal.

The RMT will be submitting our written claim this month. We will be meeting London Underground in mid December. Get ready…