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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2016

Four in five self-employed workers living in poverty

Maddy Steeds, Leeds Socialist Party
'Self-employed' Deliveroo workers striking against pay cuts, photo James Ivens

'Self-employed' Deliveroo workers striking against pay cuts, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Almost 80% of self-employed workers are living in poverty, according to Tax Research UK.

The bosses and their politicians told workers that being self-employed would give us more flexibility - for example, to choose when you work, so you can balance work and family life. However, the reality is far from the rosy picture painted by the government.

The promises of freedom in being a freelance worker have hidden a loss of financial security. Instead, these workers make 40% less than employees.

Profiteers like the owners of Uber and Deliveroo have used the promise of flexible hours to cut pay and increase their own profits. This system of employment reflects a regression back to 19th century work practices, where workers were only paid for each item they produced rather than the time and effort put into making it.

Workers are not taking this lying down, though. Anger and strikes have forced the Tories to launch an investigation into 'gig economy' firms. Although it is unlikely this bosses' government will do anything meaningful to prevent this exploitation.

However, workers can strike together to demand better treatment - as exemplified by the Deliveroo drivers' successful strike. Collective action is also necessary to win rights such as sick pay and holiday pay.

The Socialist Party fights for an end to zero-hour contracts - instead, we want flexible hours on workers' terms, not the bosses'. We say no to phoney 'self-employment', and yes to well-paid, secure jobs for all, union recognition, and employment rights from day

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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.

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In The Socialist 26 October 2016:


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Protest and strike to save our NHS

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Hundreds march and rally to defend Tyneside hospital


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Four in five self-employed workers living in poverty


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Unison higher education seminar points no way forward over pay


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Housing campaigners meet to plan resistance to the Housing Act

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I really can't wait for Socialism 2016"

"We are all Daniel Blake!"


International socialist news and analysis

US presidential election: The disastrous failure of 'lesser evilism'

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Socialist Party comments and reviews

Book review: Fighting racism in football

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Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Poverty:

triangleAusterity kills

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The politics of food poverty

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

triangleThem & Us

triangleTory minimum wage hike not enough

Workers:

triangleBuilding the Socialist Party

triangleNew laws: Unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

Pay:

triangleBus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

triangleKey workers should make bold demands

triangleWorking in Mike Ashley's empire: After lockdown we won't forget how we've been treated

Strike:

triangleBexley binworkers' strike wins sick pay from day one

trianglePostal workers deliver massive strike vote

Government:

triangleAll in this together? The 'Blitz spirit' myth

Jobs:

triangleEssential workers deserve more

Economy:

triangleAs coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleLabour and the fight for a shorter working week

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