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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 August 2002

Low Pay, No Way!

WORKERS ARE fed up to the back teeth with a class system, where some top executives have given themselves 600% or more pay rises and huge bonuses, while workers who ask for only 6% get offered peanuts.

Rob Windsor, Socialist Party councillor Coventry

These same fat cats are the ones who are ending occupational pension schemes for workers while propelling their own final pension schemes into the million-plus a year bracket.

Little wonder that the Association of British Insurers and Pirc, the corporate governance watchdog, say that the excessive pay for bosses of Britain's top public companies is "discrediting capitalism".

But the fat cats are involved with local councils too. Coventry council's chief executive recently defended pay rises for top officers of between 5,000 and 14,000 a year because in her view they were "worth it".

Here's how Coventry council works these days. The top officers, usually closely allied to Blairite free-market think tanks, propose various cuts in services, jobs and conditions as well as privatisation. The council leader on 39,000 a year and cabinet members on between 15,000 and 18,000 a year, allied to Blair's free-market-loving Labour Party nod in support.

They employ consultants, some on 500 a day to develop their arguments. Finally they sell the whole package to New Labour and Tory back bench councillors, usually afraid to say "boo" for fear of losing their chance to be like their masters.

The people who have to implement all of this and who are expected to deliver 'A' class services with 'Z' class funding are the council workforce. They're often on wages that don't even top 12,000 a year. These are the people who do their best to deliver public services through funding crises, constantly under threat of being handed over to the private sector through Labour's "Best Value" scheme.

But Coventry council workers have been fighting back. 80% supported the last council strike, because they know that they are the ones really worth a decent living pay rise.

New Labour delivers policies that Margaret Thatcher would have been proud of, with a smile rather than a snarl. Yet, they still take the unions' money. That's why we need a new mass workers' party that will really represent the needs of working people.

And that's why, if council workers decided to reject the current pay offer and take further action, myself and socialist councillors Dave Nellist and Karen McKay will be on the picket lines and will donate a day's pay and expenses to the hardship fund and the "Free the Funds" campaign - because the fight for a new workers' party is worth it!.

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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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 9 August 2002:

Low Pay, No Way!

Iraq Stop Bush & Blair's War

Union Struggles - The Task Ahead

Northern Ireland: Mass Workers' Action To Defeat Sectarianism

Local Government Pay Deal No Answer To Poverty Wages

Court Confirms Left Victory

US Imperialism Gambles On Iraq War

Pensions crisis: Bosses' Poverty Plans For Retired Workers


Home   |   The Socialist 9 August 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

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