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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2011

Poverty minimum wage

A Labour Research Department publication has stated that the TUC welcomed the government's confirmation that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers aged 21 and over will go up by 2.5%. This really is the TUC clutching at straws because this percentage increase amounts to a 15p increase in the hourly rate from October taking the NMW to 6.08.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said that the increases showed that the government "understands the NMW must remain an important part of working life". He apparently went on to point out that there was evidence that workers on the NMW spent all their pay rises where they work and live.

Someone should point out to Brendan Barber that on the current level of the NMW and the pay rise workers could not afford to travel far to spend it. The closest Brendan Barber comes to criticising what amounts to a drop in the living standards for those on the NMW, given price rises, is when he called the proposed rises "modest".

Barber of course does not criticise the current level of the NMW because it was his New Labour friends in government that maintained it at a poverty level. I don't recall generous increases when they were in power during a so-called boom.

If this so-called increase for 21 year-olds and over is not a disgrace enough, the rate for young workers, - 18 to 20 year olds and 16 to 17 year olds will only rise by 1.2% and 1.1% respectively. For many all capitalism can offer is legalised poverty, where young workers are valued less and exploited more than older workers.

If Barber and most of the other trade union leaders won't lead the fightback against the Con-Dems or any other government that seeks to place the burden of the crisis of capitalism on our shoulders, then they should stand aside for those who will.

Mark Evans

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In The Socialist 11 May 2011:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight for the NHS


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

PCS conference: prepare for united action on 30 June

Crucial time for Saltend dispute

Defending trade unionism on London Underground

Poverty minimum wage

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Students

Students occupy against cuts at London Met

For sale: university places


Socialist Party election analysis

Government Con-Demned at ballot box

TUSC shows alternative to Con-Dem and Labour cuts

Labour wins Welsh Assembly election -

SNP landslide but it will be a government of savage cuts


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend independent living rights

Con-Dems put squeeze on democratic rights

Bahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally

Suffolk Tories in retreat?

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

UN report on Sri Lanka war crimes


Socialist Party reviews

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Review: Panorama on housing: The human impact of the crisis


 

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