Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/318/10474
Bosses Get Rich - Workers Get 30p
THE MINIMUM wage for over 21s went up this month by 30p to a measly £4.50 an hour (only £3.80 an hour for 18-21 year olds).
Tony Blair says this is an example of Labour's fairness. But the gap between rich and poor has increased under New Labour. Research carried out by the London School of Economics found a growing polarisation between "good" high-paid jobs at the top and "bad" low-paid jobs at the bottom.
Workers employed by Rentokil know all about that. Last year Rentokil's chairman Sir Clive Thompson was paid £2,891,000 - 247 times the average wage of one of his employees.
Also in the top five bosses paying themselves loads more than their workers was Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco.
An average Tesco worker earns £13,598 - 181 times less than Sir Terry.
The gap is also widening in the public sector. Last year the average public-sector chief executive was on £100,000 a year. The average wage rise for a chief executive was 7.1% - nearly double that of ordinary public-sector workers.
Blair told the Labour Party conference that continuing to "reform" the labour market was essential. This is window dressing for maintaining a low-wage, hire and fire capitalist economy.
Low-paid public sector workers in London have had enough of trying to survive on poverty wages. Postal workers, council workers, teachers, college lecturers and support staff have all taken strike action for a living wage.
The socialist is campaigning for workers to come together in a one-day London wide public-sector strike.
It's only by getting organised that we can fight low pay and inequality. All of the major political parties have held their national conferences. All support privatisation of our public services; all put the interests of big business before those of ordinary working people.
If we want a living wage, if we want decent public services then we have to organise in the workplaces and build a new party that will fight for us in the same way that the other parties stand up for the bosses and the rich.
In The Socialist 11 October 2003:
Labour and the unions
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis