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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2009

House of Thieves

We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage

We need workers

We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage

WORKING CLASS people are furious about MPs' huge 'expenses'.
On Thursday 4 June, elections take place for the European Union, which for many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is an even bigger gravy train than Westminster.
Onay Kasab, facing a witchhunt in 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Onay Kasab, facing a witchhunt in 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Onay Kasab, branch secretary of Greenwich Unison is a candidate standing on the RMT union-led 'No2EU - Yes to Democracy' list for the London region in the 4 June election.
He explains why voters need a real workers' representative.

THE SHEER arrogance of MPs is astounding. Caught like rabbits in a car's headlights, they still claim they did nothing wrong when they asked us to pay for everything from KitKats to clearing out the family moat! Some of them are now offering to pay back some money but only because of the outrage from ordinary workers.

The only thing more astounding than the arrogance is the excuses. Apparently, MPs have to be able to claim lavish expenses so they can get to work on time.

One MP, whose constituency is in Luton, had her second home in Southampton, so she could maintain her relationship with her partner. No doubt, low-paid women workers who often have to take up several different jobs to secure a decent wage will be sympathetic!

Women who clean offices in the morning, work as teaching assistants or in a school kitchen by day, then have another job in the evening will know all about not seeing their family and ensuring that they get to each job on time. Not for them though, the luxury of a second home and taxi fares at taxpayers' expense.

Even when they clearly acted against the rules, MPs' excuses are that they over-claimed as they were 'too busy' to check. The trade union members who I represent would have been disciplined and sacked if they had used such a lame defence if they had ever been found to have over-claimed.

Yet, while MPs are living it up, we're expected to tighten our belts to pay for the economic crisis. In Greenwich, where I am a trade union representative, the council's latest cuts proposals will mean that care managers, responsible for putting together care packages for the elderly, will lose up to 5,000 a year from their salary.

Mental health social workers are to lose 400 a month and the children's social work team based at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital is to be disbanded despite all the concerns raised about child protection.

Parents, together with Unison and the Socialist Party, are continuing to fight the closure of Charlotte Turner School [see page 11]. The council insists on this closure despite a huge majority of people telling the council, via its consultation exercise, that the school must stay open.

We need real workers' representatives to stand up for workers. The politicians, the government and the councils are not listening. We need a voice for the working class. That is why I am standing for No2EU - Yes to democracy in the EU elections.

Our candidates will not claim over-inflated salaries and expenses on the European Union gravy train. We have pledged to not benefit financially if elected.

The EU stands for the bosses throughout Europe. We stand for the workers of Britain, Europe and the world.

Vote for a workers' representative on 4 June. Vote for No2EU.


SOCIALIST PARTY public representatives have a proud history of standing for election as workers' representatives on a worker's wage.
Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist

Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist

Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist is a No2EU - Yes to Democracy candidate, in the West Midlands. From 1983 to 1992, Dave was an MP and only took the average wage of a skilled worker and the expenses needed to do his job - these expenses were fully vetted by local trade unionists. He gave the rest to workers' movement causes.

Two other MPs from that period, the late Terry Fields and Pat Wall, also stood as workers' MPs on a worker's wage.

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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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 20 May 2009:

We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage


Socialist Party editorial

Swindling MPs are detached from reality


Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Rob Williams!

Thousands march for jobs in Birmingham

Visteon workers' victory march


No2EU

Why socialists oppose the EU

No2EU - yes to democracy


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: The guns fall silent but the tragedy continues

End Gaza blockade


Socialist Party feature

Tiananmen 1989: Seven weeks that shook the world


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action

Enthusiastic reception for Youth Fight for jobs


Education

Don't close our schools!

Charlotte Turner

Kings College, London

Lewisham Bridge rooftop protest


Socialist Party news and analysis

BT say they're sorry

Welsh-speaking worker bullied by boss

PCS conference gathers

Construction workers walk out

Union organisation necessary to defend working conditions

Workplace news

Fast news


 

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