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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2011

The difference a union makes

An east London Socialist Party member

An example of the utter inability of capitalism to answer the basic needs of society, and its young people particularly, was provided to me by my own family recently.

My daughter's boyfriend has a degree which he attained last year. Having recently moved in together, he had been hopeful of finding decent employment with his degree after several low paid jobs.

Aged 23, he was taken on in the South West by a company at a basic salary of £12,000 a year plus 10% on any deal.

The job entailed selling upgrades on mobile phone tariffs, making sure it is appropriate and the customer has a suitable phone or cash back amount, largely as a reward/gift for staying with the same phone company.

Very soon a management consultancy firm came in and took over the recruitment and human resources side of the company. They brought in seven or eight young workers who were previously door-to-door salespeople. They were then set working for 100% commission.

Shortly afterwards my daughter's boyfriend was asked, with reference to job security, to move over to 100% commission sales.

The way in which he has been asked to sell upgrades has changed to firstly telling customers about a 'loyalty scheme' where they are due money back.

This also involves targeting specific groups, often the elderly and people with poor English, in the hope of landing sales on often wholly inappropriate packages.

This has now led to daily earnings of as little as £20 a day or less and a move from monthly to weekly (cash) wages.

There was no union organisation in the workplace.

But our discussion revealed to both my daughter and her boyfriend the differences for workers between unionised workplaces, such as mine, and non-unionised workplaces such as his and the one my daughter works in.

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In The Socialist 18 May 2011:


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike back at pensions robbery!

Fight all the cuts - come to the NSSN conference


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Battle for the NHS!

Derriford hospital announces huge cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Crisis deepens in the eurozone


Socialist Party news and analysis

The Hardest Hit march and rally

Teachers' strike stops job cuts

Iraq war: Labour's lie machine

Pay gap grows ever wider

News in brief


Socialist Party feature

Britain now facing crisis on all fronts


International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: The 'no change' elections


Socialist Party workplace news

UCU at the crossroads on pensions

CWU conference: Support joint union action on 30 June

BA dispute: Mass meeting votes to put latest agreement to membership

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

Con-Dems: Supporting Youth Enslavement

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs regional conference


Socialist Party feature

Tory cuts hit children and young people

Teachers strike and parents picket at Shorefields

Campaigners put pressure on Lambeth council


Comment

The difference a union makes


 

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