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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 September 2014

United strike action can win

Support the October pay walkouts

Join the TUC London demo on 18 October

Hackney council workers striking for better pay on 10 July 2014, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Suzanne Beishon

Hackney council workers striking for better pay on 10 July 2014, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Jean Thorpe, Nottingham City Unison rep, personal capacity

The image of a homeless person rummaging through a bin for food is sadly quite common. But now many low paid workers are also being forced into that situation.

I've been told about a low-paid worker at Nottingham city council in that position. His workmates would save out-of-date food from the communal fridge for him.

This kind of extreme in-work poverty is one of the by-products of the local government pay freeze in place since 2010. This is why we're striking on 14 October.

And it's not just the lowest paid workers who are struggling. I have had social workers approach me as a union rep, saying they cannot afford to fill up their car with fuel for work.

Further misery

Nottingham city council is heaping further misery on its staff. An ongoing local pay freeze is in place for many staff and last week the city council announced pay cuts via restructuring for home care staff.

A generalised fightback is essential. A successful outcome to our pay dispute, on the back of a strong strike and campaign, could also send a warning to council bosses - and the government - to back off from attacking jobs and services.

A recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report stated that by 2018, public services could be at the level they were in 1938! Over 450,000 jobs have already been lost in local government since 2010.

Colleges

UCU members in Further Education colleges will now be striking on 14 October too, with NHS workers striking the day before. The ballot of council workers in Scotland finishes on 29 September and it is hoped their strike can be coordinated with ours as well.

The greater the number of disputes that are coordinated, the greater the confidence of those taking part. Trade union leaders should be talking to each other to maximise coordination, including any disputes in the private sector.

The dispute shouldn't finish on 14 October though. In my branch and no doubt in others, activists are demanding to know what is the union's strategy to try to win this dispute? If activists and members knew what future action is planned, there would be more confidence that we can win.


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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 24 September 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We need 10 an hour now!

Labour to continue austerity offensive

Climate change: Summit for nothing

Academies lead to nepotism and profit making

Them & Us


Scottish referendum

1.6 million vote Yes in revolt against austerity

After Scotland revolt: all capitalist parties in crisis

Scotland Poll: Electric mood among YES supporters


International socialist news and analysis

Millions on streets for Catalan independence

Sweden: Conservatives collapse, extreme-right gains


Socialist Party workplace news

United strike action can win

NHS workers vote to strike

College lecturers join 14 October strike

Care UK: 'We'll fight them all the way'

Croydon leisure centre strike for decent wages

West Midlands fire engine cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tenants threatened by 'feudal lord'

Global day of eco action

Round up: Socialist Students at the freshers fairs


Socialist Party comments and reviews

The struggle for decent social care - a personal account

Tony Benn: Will and testament

Obvious Child

Skylight

Front row fury


 

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