Our water is not for
sale – oppose privatisation
For a Campaign that can Win!
The rally today and the strike by Water
Service workers on Wednesday are welcome developments in the campaign against
the introduction of water charges. They offer yet more evidence that
the overwhelming majority of people reject water charges as unfair and
Despite this the Government is pressing
ahead. Our task now is to translate the broad public sentiment against
water charges into a broad public campaign that can stop them. What sort
of campaign can do this?
It must be open to everyone opposed to privatisation
and water charging whatever their views on the tactics of opposition.
It must be a democratic campaign with local structures in the communities,
workplaces and union branches. It must aim at building mass opposition.
Today’s rally is called by an alliance, not by a united campaign, and this
will lead to different campaigners pursuing different agendas
It must seek to unite water workers opposed
to attacks on their jobs, terms and conditions with workers in the community
opposed to service charges. The water workers have most to lose from privatisation
and have the potential power to defeat it if they receive support and solidarity
from other workers in a mass campaign.
It should not be afraid to say that the key
issue is privatisation. It is privatisation that requires the introduction
water charges and attacks on water service workers. It is the principle
that unites all the attacks and must be the principle that unites workers
and communities in defence.
The government’s leaked memo reveals their
fear of fighting on the privatisation issue yet trade union leaders are
afraid of mentioning the ‘p’ word because they say this goes beyond a purely
industrial struggle to a political one. They are right when they
say this is a political issue! They are wrong when they say we cannot
fight back on it!
Everyone at today’s rally opposes the
introduction of water charges and will oppose privatisation. We know
that the water service is already paid for by our rates. Additional investment
should be paid by charging those who are in the best position to pay –
the rich through general taxation and business through charging.
We know that privatisation will lower wages, increase charges and put the
difference into the pockets of shareholders. This is why we should
fight privatisation – the government’s leaked memo reveals that ministers
are nervous of raising the issue and see it as a battle they do “not need
to fight”. For opponents of water charges it is one they must
not be allowed to avoid.
If you agree with our analysis and way
forward get involved in the Campaign Against Water Privatisation.
The CAWP was set up in November 2004 by different socialists to oppose
the introduction of water charges and privatisation. Our primary
aim is to fight for a principled opposition and for a democratic campaign
that can successfully defeat both.
If you agree with us and would like to
find more about the CAWP and its activities then contact the e-mail address