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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 July 2002

Council workers say...

Strike Back Against Low Pay

THE DECISIVE votes for strike action by members of UNISON, GMB and TGWU working for local councils, reflects their growing anger over low pay. This is on top of the thousands of council workers mobilised to fight for higher London Weighting payments.

Brian Blake, service conditions officer, Ealing UNISON, personal capacity

Public sector workers' pay has been eroded over the years, especially in local government and workers are no longer prepared to tolerate cuts in their living standards.

The stage is now set for a battle between council workers and the employers, which will include the government.

Council workers are angry that other public sector workers have been given some pay concessions, as 'essential' workers but they have not.

Whenever the government talks about 'essential workers' they always mention nurses, teachers, the police etc but never local authority workers or ancillary staff.

Many council workers live on less than 13,000 a year and have to do two jobs to make ends meet. I have had members come to me in tears saying that after paying all their bills they only have 10 a month to live on.

That is why this action is so important. The claim for 6% or 1,750, whichever is greater, would bring the lowest paid up to at least 5 an hour. Still not enough but at least the minimum demand of the trade union movement and would be a step towards the European decency threshold of 7.50 an hour.

In London the call for 4,000 flat rate London Weighting would be an improvement. Though this would still be far short of the real cost of living in London.

The government talks about 'reforming' the public sector. This is just New Labour-speak for privatisation.

They don't really want to improve public services, this would mean putting in more resources. All they're interested in is giving opportunities for their big business friends to make a profit.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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 12 July 2002:

Strike Back Against Low Pay

Potters Bar inquiry: Bring Rail Bosses To Justice

Summer Of Discontent

Build The Fight Against Sectarianism

Another Dangerous New Mental Health Bill

Big Business Scandals - Don't Let Workers Pay The Price

How Capitalism Rips Off The Working Class

Aids pandemic: Pharmaceutical Giants Obstruct Progress


 

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Related links:

Council workers:

triangleEnd council cuts now, to end Tory austerity!

triangleEast London bin workers call 12-day strike over wage grades

triangleWorcester: Fightback against library cuts

triangleUnion action needed to fight Tory Derbyshire Council cuts

Strike:

triangleTower Hamlets council strike

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

Low pay:

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

triangleLow Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

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