A left member of the PCS civil service union’s national executive talked with Sacha Ismail.
There’s going to be a vast amount of social turmoil created by this. The economic and social fallout is going to be enormous. The benefits system needs thoroughly transforming so it actually supports people.
In the short term that might involve some form of a Basic Income to get money to people fast, but there are much wider issues of how the system works and treats people.
Under a bit of pressure but fundamentally because they were worried about their system collapsing, the government has resorted to a kind of crude economic planning, backed up by massive public spending. That begs the question of public ownership. We should demand public jobs, public provision, public ownership are majorly expanded.
We also have to raise the question about how public organisations are run, whether it’s a centralised state thing or whether as I would advocate an important element of power and control lies with workers in these institutions and those they are serving.
Both on workplace issues and the wider demands, now is the time for unions and the labour movement to be combative as we have leverage we may not have later on. To some extent that leverage is being used but a lot of is being squandered by unions pursuing policies of class collaboration. If we don’t push hard the employers will start to push us back and then after all this we’ll be coming under attack in a very bad situation, opening the way to horrendous austerity.
• Full interview on The Clarion