Trade unions' "job is to clean the dust out of the eyes of working people who create the wealth"

Submitted by Matthew on 29 July, 2010 - 2:09

Paul Holmes, Secretary Kirklees Unison, speaking at Ideas for Freedom:

"What we’ve got at the moment is union activists who need inspiring. They’re worn down. Any public sector official will tell you it’s almost impossible to win grievances. The employer always has the upper hand.

The mantra for the last six months has been to say that the crisis is so monumental as to justify any cuts. But there’s no need for any cuts — there’s £160 billion of unpaid taxes. Let’s increase the number of people working at the Inland Revenue to collect those taxes. But instead, HMRC has outsourced all its own buildings to a firm in the Bahamas so they don’t have to pay tax on it! You can’t make this stuff up. But we have to tell the truth.

At this moment in time the working class are frightened, but they’re angry. We need to tap into that anger and build a fightback against what’s going on. We need to tell them the truth of what’s going on. That’s why you can’t get on ballot papers or on the television.

They want to wind back the clock, and working people are frightened. And when working people are frightened, if they don’t have something to aspire to, they look backwards to what they thought was a better time.

In some respects, it was a better time in the 60s and 70s — we had full employment. You could walk out of your job and into another one. Lads at the pit who’d been badly treated could get a job at another pit. There isn’t another pit now.

The job of the media is to confuse the majority of us who are working people so that the 5% who rule can carry on ruling. Our job is to clean the dust out of the eyes of working people who create the wealth, so they can enjoy that wealth."

• Kirklees council has admitted that it plans £250 and £400 million cuts over the next five years. A local campaign has been set up: http://kirklees-sos.org

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