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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 June 2019
Trade union action can end low pay
- Come to the 2019 NSSN conference
Cleaners on the London Overground strike against low pay on 5 April, photo London Socialist Party, photo London Socialist Party (Click to enlarge)
Ruth Byrne, catering worker
Five million workers in Britain (over one in six) are stuck in low-paid and insecure work.
Amy Murphy, president of the shop workers' union Usdaw, will be speaking at the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference on Saturday 6 July on how unions are campaigning for a living wage and guaranteed minimum hours.
Employers say it's all about flexibility - but who gains from it? They have a workforce on tap, but only pay for people to work when they want them.
Their workers on the other hand have to live in constant insecurity. Have you ever seen a contract that lets you pay less rent some months? Does anyone get discounts on food or travel when they get less hours? Does your mobile provider (essential for getting work for most workers on zero-hour contracts or in other precarious jobs) reduce your bill when you're short of cash?
Usdaw has found that three-quarters of low-paid workers rely on credit cards, overdrafts, borrowing from family or payday loans to pay essential bills.
Employers and agencies also use insecure work to instil fear and stop workers from standing up for themselves. When you know that refusing a work shift could mean you are never offered one again, it isn't easy to risk losing it. Never mind having a life or commitments outside working whatever hours your employer wants you to work. The same goes for mentioning unsafe working conditions or standing up to harassment.
But despite the obstacles, many workers are fighting back, and the NSSN conference is a fantastic place to hear and meet other people who are doing this. It brings together union shop stewards, rank-and-file trade unionists and campaigners to share ideas and build links between different workplaces. Whatever issues you are fighting on, it will inspire you.
The Socialist Party fights for
- A minimum wage of £10 an hour with no exemptions, and £15 an hour in London
- Scrapping zero-hour contracts, and guaranteeing full-time hours and permanent jobs for all who want them
- A maximum 35-hour working week with no loss of pay
- All welcome: Saturday 6 July, 11am - 4.30pm
- Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
- £6 registration - pay on the day, or make a cheque out to National Shop Stewards Network and post to NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE
- Register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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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 19 June 2019:
What we think
While the Tories elect a new leader - prepare action to remove the lot of them
Welsh government must block NHS privatisation or face workers' action
Council cuts continue while reserves rise
Cancer stats reveal deep inequality
Them & Us
Stop climate change - fight for socialist change
What way forward to tackle climate change?
Trade union action can end low pay
Schools unions must turn anger into a fight against funding catastrophe
Unite must be at the head of fighting for a general election and against council cuts
South Western Railway staff strike for safety
Ford Bridgend workers vote to fight to save threatened plant
Bluestar bus drivers' strike over pay
East London bin workers call 12-day strike over wage grades
Swansea Parcelforce workers picket depot in support of victimised rep
Harrogate academy workers strike against closure
International socialist news and analysis
Chinese regime's puppet government in Hong Kong pushed back by mass protests
Sudan: The revolution under threat
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Angry Barking residents' meeting demands answers and action following fire
Orgreave injustice - 35th anniversary march and rally
Oppose big business's sphere of influence!
Young Socialists - re-establishing Rhondda's fighting traditions
North Shields: second march and rally to #SaveOurBridge
Newton Abbot says no to Tory privatisation of the NHS!
Worcester: Building on our successful library campaign
Defend free TV licences for over-75s!
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