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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 July 2013

What the other half get paid

Ronnie Job

I don't know how my TV has lasted so long given the first thing I turn on in the morning is the news. This morning what set my blood pressure rising was the story that MPs will get a pay rise rumoured to be around 10,000, on the recommendation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

I'm a Unison shop steward who represents many low-paid workers in further education, some of whom don't take home 10,000 in a year. Alright, the ones with the lowest incomes are only paid to work term-times but the 38 or 39 weeks they work is still more weeks than Parliament actually sits for.

Of course many MPs, despite their tax payer-funded second homes, their luxurious expenses and their subsidised dining and drinking in House of Commons bars and restaurants, will think this increase is too low. 10,000 a year extra would take a backbencher's salary to over 76,000 but when IPSA surveyed MPs on what they think their salaries should be, it averaged 86,000.

So far short of their inflated expectations does their salary fall that many of them moonlight, taking second jobs. Analysis by the Guardian showed that for 20 MPs last year, representing constituents was their second job, as they earned more from work outside Parliament.

Some of my workmates have two or more jobs but for them it's not a matter of choice, it's the only way to pay at least most of the bills. I know cleaners that have three or four jobs to go to in a single day but I also know of teaching staff who are delivering fast food in the evenings, such is the effect on incomes of increasing casualisation on top of frozen wages.

While we struggle...

Four years' pay freeze while the prices of everything else goes up and up means that those of us lucky enough to keep permanent, full-time, jobs are struggling to stay afloat, often getting through the last week of the month only by using the plastic to pay for essentials like food. The 740,000, according to the Guardian, earned by Tory MP Steven Phillips for working 1,700 hours as a barrister, sounds more like a lottery win than annual pay for a second job.

Meanwhile the Queen gets the equivalent of a multiple roll-over Euro-millions jackpot every year. Her income, at our expense, will rise 5% to nearly 38 million next year. I missed that item on the morning news or I certainly wouldn't still have a TV.

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In The Socialist 3 July 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories - cuts, Lib Dems - cuts, Labour - cuts

National Shop Stewards Network seventh annual conference

RMT reaffirms support for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

What the other half get paid

St Petersburg Pride rally attacked

Cameron and Blair's support for Kazakhstan regime blasted

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

65th anniversary of the NHS - How workers won the National Health Service


International socialist news and analysis

Mass street protests as Egypt is swept by revolution and counter-revolution


Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers strike in North West

Rochdale 'Future Directions' strike solid

Model motion from the NSSN

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Sick Of Your Boss?' week of action 8-13 July

Fighting back against hated bedroom tax

Letter to student left groups to discuss joint call for a national demo

Impressive national youth organisers meeting

Leeds: Building support for workers in South Africa

The Year of the Paper - boosting the sales of the Socialist

Fighting Fund target smashed!


 

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