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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 October 2018
Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise - but stingy Bezos tries to claw it back
Nationalise Amazon! £10 an hour now!
An Amazon warehouse, photo Scott Lewis/CC (Click to enlarge)
Kris O'Sullivan, Birmingham Central Socialist Party
Buzz buzz buzz - "END STILL TIME." That's the alert Amazon warehouse workers receive when they spend too much time not moving - resting from hard manual work.
But now, collective workers' action has forced billionaire boss Jeff Bezos to concede pay rises - £9.50 an hour in the UK and $15 in the US.
There have been horror stories of workers contracting gallstones as they are too scared to go for a toilet break, or working till they pass out due to lack of ventilation. In my home city of Birmingham, 115 ambulances have been called out to the Amazon warehouse in the past three years!
It's understandable if you think this is something straight out of a Black Mirror episode. But it's now common practice across Amazon and the logistics sector.
Alongside poverty pay, insecure hours, and terrible health and safety standards, workers have said enough is enough! Across the world they have been organising collectively - striking in Spain and Italy, and joining unions in the US and UK.
This rising threat is what squeezed the raise out of Bezos. But the capitalist press says it's simply due to kindly Amazon 'listening to its critics'. What drivel and lies!
Jeff Bezos - the richest man on the face of the planet, who is spending $42 million on building a '10,000-year clock' inside a mountain in Texas - doesn't care about critics. He cares only about his profits.
That's why it's only now, when workers have flexed their industrial muscles and hurt these profits, that we see better pay.
However, tight-fisted Bezos has done it by robbing Peter to pay Paul - ending monthly bonuses and stock awards, and attacking agency workers' conditions.
This shows that workers struggle can win a better deal for today, but the capitalists will always seek to take it back tomorrow.
That's why the Socialist Party says workers should call the shots to truly protect and secure all of our futures.
This can only happen under a radically different system, where industry is collectively owned and democratically planned: the system of socialism.
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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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- 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 10 October 2018:
What we think
Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election
Workplace news and analysis
We need democratic, rank-and-file leadership to win national UCU disputes
First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action
Another first: pub strike victory in south London!
Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut
Strike raises pay at Liverpool airport
South Western rail guards hit 18 strike days
Socialist Party news and analysis
Fight the right
12 years to halt irreversible climate disaster. Capitalism's time is up
8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike
Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn
Workers in UK do £1.2trn of unpaid housework and care
Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise
Them & Us
Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all
25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat
International socialist news and analysis
Polarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections
Mexico: socialists violently attacked by gangs - urgent solidarity needed
Ireland: 10,000 march for homes in Dublin
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Liverpool 47 plaque: "Better to break the law, than break the poor"
Palestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."
Leicestershire: stop the cuts to our hospital services
Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - the fight goes on
Finance - a crucial component of socialist campaigns
The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 10 October 2018 |
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