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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 August 2001

Fighting For Decent Pay And Union Rights

HERE IN Cambridge an aggressively expanding global company notorious for regressive anti-union labour practices opened a new store in June.

Sarah Glynn

Since Borders' new Cambridge bookshop opened, SCALPP - Cambridge's Socialist Campaign Against Low Pay and Privatisation - has been there regularly. Borders wages, 5 an hour, aren't enough to live on in a place where bedsit flats start at 400 per month; and large stores set standards for others.

An official Borders training document, leaked on the internet, advises managers how to prevent unionisation of its staff. In Cambridge they've responded to our pickets according to the book by introducing a "staff forum" - a management controlled talking shop.

A more sinister weapon is the company-generated climate of fear that surfaces whenever union issues are mentioned. And yet, Borders workers need a union to represent them against a bullying management who even check the bags of every staff member whenever they leave the store - a practice which may well breach European human rights law.

Borders relies on employing young people who believe that they're only working there as a step on their real career. It encourages a 'family ethos' - in other words it treats its employees as not really grown-up.

Some buy into this but many others do not, and our leaflets are causing discreet discussion. Important issues are being aired both in the shop and among other low-paid workers on the street.

Local shop managers may not like us, as they increasingly make clear, but the work we're doing is important, and we won't go away.

If you want to know more about SCALPP or if you plan similar action at a Borders bookshop near you please e-mail us on: SCALPP@hotmail.com

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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 24 August 2001:

Fighting For Decent Pay And Union Rights

Unite And Fight Racism

Northern Ireland: Workers Must Challenge The Bigots

Israel's Grim Realities

Irish Trade Union Democracy Under Attack

Police Mobilise To Protect Fascist 'Festival'

Reinstate Noah Tucker: Hackney UNISON vote for strike ballot


 

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