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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 June 2019

Trade union action can end low pay

Cleaners on the London Overground strike against low pay on 5 April, photo London Socialist Party, photo London Socialist Party

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?

Bills

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.

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NSSN conference

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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


News

Welsh government must block NHS privatisation or face workers' action

Council cuts continue while reserves rise

Cancer stats reveal deep inequality

Them & Us


Climate change

Stop climate change - fight for socialist change

What way forward to tackle climate change?


Workplace news

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


Opinion

Defend free TV licences for over-75s!

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Low pay:

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triangleEast London Socialist Party: Low pay and the winter strike wave

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Zero-hour contracts:

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