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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 January 2014

End poverty pay scandal

Real living wage now

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky   (Click to enlarge)

The Con-Dems tell us we're in a 'recovery'. Well, it doesn't feel that way to most of us. Far from it.

While bankers get astronomical bonuses and pay, the PCS union has worked out that the real value of UK pay has fallen 7% since the start of 2008.

Since 2010 there has only been one month when average pay didn't fall - and that month was skewed because of bankers' bonuses!

Tory Chancellor George Osborne has floated a rise from the current rate of 6.31 an hour to 7 an hour.

But this does not even reach the 'living wage', an hourly rate set independently and updated annually according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It is set at 7.65 and 8.80 in London.

Today the minimum wage is at its lowest level in real terms since 2004. Millions of workers cannot make ends meet.

Working Tax Credits, essential for many workers to survive, bail out low-paying Scrooge employers. Socialists stand for a minimum wage that is enough to live on and for no exemptions to that.

Socialist Party member Karen Fletcher spoke to Jason (not his real name) about the reality of life on low pay.

Jason is married and has a six year old son. He works with mentally disabled adults and has been in his current job for five years.

He is contracted to work a minimum of 30 hours a week at 6.50 an hour. He has not had a pay rise in four years. He stays because he loves his job.

When asked what it would mean to him to earn 10 an hour, Jason's answer was simple and heart-breaking.

He told me it would "make a huge difference - we wouldn't have to keep borrowing money from family. We wouldn't worry about the gas and electric, we could get a big shop when I get paid."

At this point his wife wistfully pointed out that they could finally begin to save, to get out of their small flat and live in a house with a garden.

It's not exactly a soaring ambition is it, to be able to open the door and let your son play in the garden.

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In The Socialist 22 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Real living wage now

Capitalism is a system in crisis

Pay me - I'm a banker!

What exactly is the point of Labour?

Stop the NHS sell-off

Bedroom tax loophole: Can legal tactics be effective?

Fracking - profiting from environmental destruction

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt referendum: no enthusiasm for new constitution

"Ireland is a success story" rhetoric is based on spin


Education

Stop the student debt spiral - day of action 6 February

Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in Croydon

An open letter to Tristram Hunt


Socialist Party workplace news

Transport workers have power to defeat cuts

Teachers need a date for national action

Teachers strike against threatened redundancies

NUT strikes against management "observations"

More action needed to defend Probation Service

Publicity alone can't save sacked union branch official

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lincoln marches against racism and fascism

Protest against Atos 'assessments' on 19 February

Salford workers and environmentalists challenge council

Stop cuts in Kent

Carlisle petition


Readers' comments and reviews

Benefits Street: A caricature of poverty

Leeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

Robert Burns, insurrectionary poet


 

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