At the moment on the surface Britain seems to be relatively quiet. However, a mass revolt is brewing as the scale and type of indignities that have been heaped on the shoulders of working-class people grows. It will inevitably break to the surface. It is necessary that this is led by the organised battalions of the labour movement coalescing into a mass movement to topple the Tories and bring a socialist, Corbyn-led Labour government to power.
Analysis & News
Jolene Bunting has been suspended from her position on Belfast City Council for 4 months while an investigation is carried out into a number of complaints against her. A statement from the Commissioner for Standards said there was evidence that Bunting had failed to comply with the council’s code of conduct and that her conduct was likely to have brought the council into disrepute.
Allegations are flying about who was responsible and who knew what in regards to the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme (RHI), which saw businesses like the Ferrari showroom in Belfast being kept cosy at a profit using public funds. A brother and two cousins of former DUP special advisor Andrew Crawford acquired 11 boilers under RHI. Crawford admitted sending a confidential document on the scheme to a cousin. This has rightfully provoked a huge outpouring of anger, aimed at the DUP in particular, who looked to be tied to the schemes implementation.
Young people today have grown up in a period when the trade union movement has been in retreat. It has been the unions’ decline from militancy to conservatism that has caused young people to no longer consider them vehicles for change and why they have been struggling to understand their relevance in a world of global social upheaval. This has meant that trade union membership has fallen to its lowest since 1995. But material conditions are driving small groups of young workers to organise and fight back.
After a landslide vote of just under 67% to repeal the constitutional abortion ban on 25th May, on 18th September, the eighth amendment was formally repealed in the South, after all appeals made seeking to the challenge the referendum result were dismissed.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain has called for the introduction of a four-day working week. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady compared this demand to previous milestone achievements such as the eight-hour day achieved in the 19th century and the two-day weekend won in the 20th century. Unfortunately, no specific time frame has been targeted other than… this century!
In the quest for truth, however, we believe it is necessary to look to the forces which in the course of the Troubles can genuinely lay claim to standing against sectarian division and violence – that is the labour and trade union movement, particularly its rank-and-file activists. It is this force today, alongside a new generation of young people who want to fight for equality, that can provide the basis for a different future. Part of their task will be to bring to light the reality of the Troubles and seek to provide justice for its victims.
Our health service is nearing the precipice, but the damage can be reversed. As a health worker, I need my own union, NIPSA, and the union movement as a whole to step up – to defend our right to a decent standard of living, not to scratch out an existence from month to month; to fight for public ownership of all parts of our health services.