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Fight For a Living Wage
THE GOVERNMENT fears that economic confidence is slipping. They're worried that pay increases averaging just over 4% a year, are 'overheating' the economy.
But even if workers' wages increases were double that amount it's still less than what the top executives get as pay increases. Last year chief executives' pay rose by 17.6%, over four times the average increase in earnings. The average chief executive's pay package is worth 18 times the average worker's according to Warwick University.
These fat cats are rewarding themselves for massively increasing profits at working-class people's expense.
HSBC bank boasted an enormous 28% increase in its half-yearly profits to £3.32 billion. And as a government commission pointed to organised cartel price fixing among the biggest retailers, Sainsbury's reported its sales up by 9.2%.
Yet, the best these companies can give their workers out of this is just over 3%.
It's little wonder that public-sector union UNISON wants the TUC to demand a £5 an hour minimum wage.
Even where workers get over £5 an hour the bosses are trying to further erode workers' conditions. ROBBIE SEGAL, a member of the shopworkers' union Usdaw national executive represents Tesco workers, where check-out operators get £5.02 an hour, claimed to be the 'best' in the industry. But it's about more than just wages says Robbie.
She told The Socialist, in a personal capacity, that throughout the retail sector "companies operate a cartel on workers' conditions as well as prices. They've been making the most out of the high petrol prices and screwing their suppliers, especially in the Third World. Now they're fearful that American giant WalMart coming in will erode their massive profit margins, so they're attacking the workers once again."
Socialist Party members are the best fighters for workers' solidarity and fighting for socialist change to win better pay and conditions at work. Join us.
Ø The Socialist demands a £5 an hour minimum wage as the first step towards the European Union decency threshold of £7 an hour.
Ø For an annual increase in the minimum wage linked to average earnings and a 35-hour week for all, linked to improvements in workers' conditions.
Ø For a minimum income of £280 a week for all, including pensioners and young workers.
Ø End the rule of profit. For a socialist redistribution of wealth and power.
In The Socialist 4 August 2000: