The Federal Conservative Government can now be seen for what it is, a government of big business, by big business, for big business. This is demonstrated by the current attacks on ordinary people, many belonging to trade unions, who are attempting to fight the ruthless cuts in their living standards and pensions. As one striking Calgary worker put it “the fight is now for the future of our children”.
The declaration, by Harper, after the election that the Tories would govern on behalf of all Canadians was just the usual empty rhetoric.
The decision to force workers, who have the right to withdraw their labour, back to work under the terms of the bosses demonstrates that Harper and his masters mean to place the burden of the economic crises squarely and firmly onto the shoulders of the workers. Working people did not cause the Great Recession they work hard to provide for their families so why should they be made the scapegoats?
Those at the top who were responsible for the financial crash are still giving themselves fat salaries and opulent bonuses. This fact will not be lost on the majority of Canadians.
While claiming that the recession is over the Harper government is preparing a wave of austerity attacks to the tune of $4 billion of cuts every year. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is reported as estimating that 80,000 jobs, which amount to a third of all the federal public service, are to go.
Postal workers are resisting the cuts they are in a legal strike position the members giving an historical mandate with 94.5% vote in favour of strike action. This is an extremely difficult step for workers and their families it clearly demonstrates the depth of the feeling of injustice.
The government’s intervention in labour disputes demonstrates the impasse in which capitalism finds itself; it is progressively unable to provide even the minimum living standards for working people who are the producers of all wealth.
In 2004 Air Canada wrung concessions from their employees, at the time the cost to each worker was estimated at $10,000. On top of wages and benefit concessions the union also agreed to Air Canada stopping payments into workers pension plans until 2010. Demands by the management have led to a string of concessions from the workers even though the company profits and productivity have soared.
The strike action by these workers is clearly in defence of their living standards; many other workers including those in teaching and health are also under attack.
If post office and Air Canada workers are defeated it will signal the start of an increased attack on the wages and living standards of all who work for a living both in the public and private sectors.
Keith Norman Wyatt
Innisfail NDP (personal capacity)