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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 April 2020

The minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

Social care for the elderly is under threat from councils across the UK, photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)

photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Karen Smith, care worker

Minimum wage workers include many of the frontline staff dealing with the pandemic.

But groups like the Institute for Fiscal Studies have still been lobbying the government to not go ahead with the meagre increase in the already pitiful minimum wage this month, and in the future.

It's clear the capitalists want to punish us while protecting their profits.

As a senior support worker I'm only as good as my team. Everyone who is not senior is earning pennies above minimum wage, and the seniors can make as little as 9.20 an hour. The idea that this will somehow attract people for the 'right reasons' is nonsense.

The reality is that many who do care leave, because they are overworked, or rightly will not tolerate bad workplace practice. Numerous times this has meant a slot on Panorama for the care home.

Now, more than ever, we need staff who want to be support workers, who love the job - and who can afford to do it. So when I heard talk about scrapping the minimum wage increase and maybe giving us a patronising 'gratitude bonus', I was absolutely fuming.

Where's the gratitude when support workers are already so low paid? We're already risking ourselves and our households by continuing to work during this crisis. If it's anything like the recent Greggs bonus, many workers wouldn't even get to keep it because of Universal Credit rules!

Both proposals are an insult. If the government doesn't increase the minimum wage there will be a serious backlash. I'm encouraging all of my team to get unionised. It's the best way to organise a fight for our pay and conditions.

No to a one-off 'gratitude bonus' instead of higher pay! The minimum wage should increase in line with the real cost of living, with no exemptions. 12 now as a step towards 15!

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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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In The Socialist 6 April 2020:


What we think

Tory lies cost lives

End of the Corbyn era - Organise to fight for socialist policies

Workers take action while union leaders call truce with government and bosses


International news

Coronavirus: Amazon workers threaten revolution!

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the front: shortages of NHS staff, equipment - and union leadership

Expired PPE relabelled for NHS use

The minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

Capitalism causes crisis profiteering: fight for workers' oversight and public ownership

Under the microscope: Pandemic news in brief


Workplace news

Where's the PPE Welsh Assembly?

EE puts workers' health and safety at risk

Things will never be the same again

Anger as London local authorities bulldoze through powers to discipline workers

A day in the life of a frontline worker

Victory for Medway bin workers

Socialists in Unite meet via Zoom: Struggles continue in the workplaces


World War Two

Class collaboration and worker militancy in World War Two Britain


Campaigns

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

Coronavirus crisis finance appeal

May Day greetings: we need to fund independent workers' media now more than ever

Getting the Socialist out safely under lockdown


Readers' opinion

Going viral


 

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