Socialist Party
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5 November 2008

Canary Wharf: Low paid workers welcome socialist campaigners

In the build up to Socialism 2008 we have leafleted workplaces, colleges, shopping centres and stations all over London. We have taken leaflets to city workers facing the threat of masses of job losses in finance and the industries like catering and cleaning that support it.

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party secretary

Last week we went to Canary Wharf. In many ways this is the symbol of finance greed - an island of gleaming skyscrapers and space-age architecture sitting amid the poverty of inner city Tower Hamlets.

Thousands of people living in rundown estates on its fringes struggle to feed their families, while over the other side of the concrete barriers, just a few marble slabs and chrome bridges away, opulence drips from a great height. It is here that the towering Lehman Brothers building now stands almost empty.

Socialist Party members went armed with a programme to fight against job losses and low pay, and the message of a socialist alternative to the capitalist system of greed and exploitation.

At 7am, rubbing shoulders with the occasional expensive suit, there are thousands of cleaners, maintenance staff and shop workers, scraping a living in the belly of the beast. A little later, masses of ordinary office workers arrive. These are the people who are already starting to pay the heftiest price for the financial collapse.

Cleaners at some of the businesses at Canary Wharf waged a fantastic battle against low pay recently, as part of the Justice for Cleaners campaign, and won significant pay rises from several employers. It is time now that a lead is given to these workers to fight for jobs and homes, as well as for pay.