Step up the action!
Build a mass campaign!
A day of action is only the start of the water workers struggle. A lot more needs to be done and union branch meetings need to become organising centres where water workers can plan the actions needed to fight against the coming privatisation and link up with anti water charge campaigners in the communities.
Because water charges are so massively unpopular it is the general public, especially those actively involved in campaigns against the water charges, who are the workers best allies in this fight. Their campaign will be greatly strengthened if water workers are seen to take the lead. Today should be seen as only the start of a campaign of mutual solidarity between workers and campaigners that highlights what the governments privatisation plans mean for everyone.
The existing campaign is weak. The union leadership separates the issues of job losses and loss of workers rights from the fight against privatisation. They claim it is illegal to take industrial action against privatisation! Their lobby campaign aimed at government ministers could easily end in temporary concessions on jobs and conditions that would become worthless as soon as the water industry passed out of public hands.
Any campaign needs to raise the issue that it is the attack on the water service and the drive to take water out of public ownership that is at the centre of the government’s plans to charge all households. The government should be asked these questions: Why is it not possible to have a world class water system without the need for privatisation? Why do you need to cut jobs and attack working conditions? Is the supply of water really about profit margins? What about the consequences for public health? Surely providing a vital public service is much more important and valuable to society than shareholders dividends?
Only a mass campaign linking workers and the community can force these question down the government’s throat.
Contact the Campaign against water privatisation at: firstname.lastname@example.org