Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/866/21162
Behind the elegant walls
The city of Bath, a popular tourist attraction, returned a big Tory majority at the general election. But behind the elegant surface of Bath's Georgian walls is a workforce that is ready to be politicised.
Many workers, often living below the minimum wage, cram into small rooms and are financially bled by private landlords. Homelessness has also risen while many local working class families are forced to leave because of high property prices and rents.
The growing tourist industry has made the hotel sector into one of the most lucrative areas of business development, promoted by the city council. A big percentage of the workforce is employed in the hotel service sector. Most are paid the minimum wage, some less; others work zero-hour contracts or even get no contract at all. Many hotel workers receive no sick pay.
Some owners adopt illegal practices by stealth, making workers accept by threatening job losses (with no employer reference on dismissal). Many worry that retirement will bring them little or no pension - this makes employees work significantly past their 'official' retirement age.
Most hotel workers are not at present members of unions. One woman working in housekeeping told me: "I can't afford to pay the membership but even if I did I'd lose my job, for being seen as a trouble-maker".
The Socialist Party's role in aiding workers in their fight for justice could be crucial. Many low-paid workers are ready to struggle and would feel the benefit of talking with others in similar situations who understand their plight.
Kit Jenkins, Bath
In The Socialist 5 August 2015:
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