Workers did not cause the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic, so we must not be forced to pay for it! But this is exactly what the Tories and their powerful friends are trying to do. Billionaire Tory donor Sir James Dyson provides the latest example of this, announcing that he is unceremoniously axing the jobs of 600 of his British employees. Dyson was employed as an ‘ingenuity tsar’ by David Cameron in 2012 to make tax changes “giving companies like Dyson Ltd. a corporate tax rate on most, if not all, of its income at 10%.” Tax avoidance for the super-rich and weakened public services for the rest of us has been common practise for the capitalist class.
Profiteering from health crises comes naturally to Tory elites. Yet again, the taxpayer is being requested to give another bailout to Transport for London, taking the total cost to an eye-watering £5 billion. When the first bailout was agreed in May, the government only gave the money on the premise that they would privatise TfL in what the rail workers union – the RMT – referred to as a “Government coup”. Senior Assistant General Secretary of the union, Mick Lynch, said in a statement dispatched to the Tories that:
“Privatisation has been a disaster for tax-payers, public and workers alike and we are still living with, and paying for, its consequences… Workers on the tube have put their lives on the line day in, day out to keep the Underground running throughout the worst crisis since the Second World War and they are not going to stand by while [Johnson’s] government exploits this crisis in the interests of big business.”
Workers cannot accept any more profiteering at our expense. If more money is needed to bail out any transport organizations then this should only be given on the promise that no corporate profiteers will see a single penny of the money. This means that all the capitalist leaches must be removed from TfL’s infrastructure, and for the service to be publicly owned and run under the democratic control of workers and service users. This should apply equally to all public transport networks, and could lay the basis for expansion and improvement of infrastructure, along with mass investment in renewable energy sources. And while we are at it, let’s ensure that public transport is actually affordable for all by making it free for all!